Anthony Davis shot only 18% from distance last season, which was a career-low for the eight-time NBA All-Star big man. In the Lakers’ media day, he said a wrist injury was to be blamed.
However, last season, Davis’ three-point shooting percentage plummeted to 18.6%, contributing to the Lakers ranking 22nd in the league from beyond the arc.
Davis, who missed 42 games because of knee and ankle injuries, had a disappointing year overall. Some weeks before the new season starts, Davis revealed that he was dealing with a previously undisclosed ailment that affected his accuracy.
“A lot of people don’t know this, but since January I was battling a wrist injury the whole year,” Davis said while at the Laker’s training camp. “So it was affecting my shot and everything. That’s not an excuse but it was tough for me to shoot how I wanted to shoot. I couldn’t really follow through.”
Davis recalls that anytime he did followed through, “it was very painful. And I had to try do that over and over.”
The Lakers center is confident that his approach to the offseason, which attracted some criticism in June when a video of him saying he hadn’t shot a basketball since the regular season ended two months prior circulated on social media, was prudent. He needed to get his body right first before resuming skills training.
“I’m 100% healthy,” Davis said. “I feel great. You can ask guys around here, I’m really shooting the ball. So, I’ll be ready. Wherever coach puts me on the floor, midrange, post, perimeter, if I’ve got a shot, I’m going to shoot it.”
While coach Darvin Ham has repeatedly said that fixing the Lakers’ problematic defense is his No. 1 priority, Lakers VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka admitted this week that long-range shooting remains an area of concern for the team as well.
“I think in terms of shooting, that’s a needed skill,” Pelinka said. “Some of that can come from the outside, by additional roster moves or roster moves throughout the season. But shooting growth can also come from within, and we do feel like there are players on our team this year that you’re going see that growth.”
Ham mentioned Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and rookies Max Christie and Scotty Pippen Jr. as standout shooters through the early part of camp.
When a reporter suggested to Beverley that his offensive role could include cuts to the basket this season, the veteran guard quickly supplied a reply.
“My numbers say I shoot threes,” said Beverley. “I don’t know if I should be cutting. I don’t know if your numbers say, you’re a reporter or whatever. I don’t know if you should be a fireman or anything, not with your job and title. You wouldn’t want to do that, so I wouldn’t want to cut.”
Beverley stressed that he shot 39% on catch-and-shoot with Minnesota last season.
“Numbers don’t lie,” Beverley said. “I’m an elite catch-and-shoot three-point shooter, obviously. My defense has always been at the forefront, because that’s what people see. But when it comes down to the numbers, I shoot with the best of them in the league.”