LOS ANGELES – Big men stretching the floor as shooters are necessary for any successful NBA team in modern NBA. Damn, Jonas Valanciunas of the Pelicans leads the NBA with 51.7% of his 3 (2.5 attempts per game). Just ask the Clippers what he can do.
Anthony Davis did not regain his bubble shooting form and only reached 20.5% out of 3 (2.1 attempts per game). But he knows he has to keep shooting them, and he will.
“I’m going to keep shooting the ball from 3 whether he comes in or not,” Davis said after the Lakers hung on to beat Detroit on Sunday night, a game where Davis was 2-of-2 deep. “I think that paves the way for my teammates – LeBron [James], Russ [Westbrook], Talo [Talen Horton-Tucker] – to go down. And that opens up the possibility for me to access the paint when the guys burn out and get closer to the three, ”Davis said. “I’m just trying to be efficient on all three ground levels, and that was fine for me tonight.”
The Lakers have been at their best with Davis at center and the team’s other two stars – LeBron James and Russell Westbrook – on the pitch, that formation has been +7.7 percent this season (for Lakers fans , this statistic is the radius of hope for an otherwise unimpressive start to the season). Part of what makes this range work is that Davis can go out and must be respected from a distance, which opens up lanes of traffic.
That’s why Davis is right, he has to keep shooting. But if it doesn’t start hitting, some of that spacing will disappear.