EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — On the Los Angeles Lakers’ run to the 2020 title, Anthony Davis showed the full versatility of his game, shooting close to 40% from 3 in the NBA bubble playoffs.
Last season, Davis’ outside shooting fell off a cliff, with his 3-point percentage plummeting to 18.6%, helping the Lakers rank 22nd in the league from beyond the arc.
It was a disappointing season overall for Davis, who missed 42 games due to knee and ankle injuries. He revealed Tuesday, after the Lakers’ second day of training camp under new coach Darvin Ham, 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’ve been battling a wrist injury all year,” Davis said. “So it affected my shot and everything. It’s not an excuse, but it was hard for me to shoot the way I wanted to shoot. I couldn’t really keep up.”
How bad was it?
“I couldn’t keep up,” Davis said. “Every time I followed through, it was very painful. And I had to try to do it again and again.”
The Lakers center is confident that his approach to the offseason, which drew some criticism in June when a video of Davis saying he hadn’t shot a basketball since the regular season ended two months before circulated on social media , was careful. He needed to get his body right first before resuming skill training.
“I’m 100 percent healthy,” Davis said. “I feel good. You can ask guys around here, I really shoot the ball. So I’ll be ready. Wherever coach puts me on the floor, midcourt, post, perimeter, if I have a shot, I’m going to shoot it.”
While Ham has repeatedly said that fixing the Lakers’ anemic defense is his No. 1 priority, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka admitted this week that outside shooting is also an area of concern for the team.
“I think in terms of shooting, it’s a necessary skill,” Pelinka said during Monday’s media day. “Some of that can come from the outside, by additional roster moves or roster moves during the season. But growth can also come from within, and we feel like there are players on our team this year that you’re going to see, that growth.”
He was mentioned by Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and rookies Max Christie and Scotty Pippen Jr. as excellent shooters throughout the early part of camp.
Count Beverley as one of the players on the roster who is convinced he can be dangerous from deep. When a reporter suggested to the veteran guard that his offensive role might include cuts to the basket this season, he quickly offered a retort.
“My numbers say I shoot 3s,” Beverley said. “I don’t know if I should cut. I don’t know if your numbers say you’re a journalist or whatever. I don’t know if you’re supposed to be a firefighter or something, not with your job and your title. You would don’t do, so I wouldn’t cut.”
Beverley pointed out that he shot 39% on catch-and-shoot 3s with Minnesota last season — in the same range as Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who connected on 39.5% of his catch-and-shoot attempts .
“Numbers don’t lie,” Beverley said. “Elite catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter, obviously. My defense has always been up front because that’s what people see. But when it comes to the numbers, I shoot with the best of them in the league.”