Everyone seems to be blaming Russell Westbrook for the Lakers' slow start to the season -- they are 0-2 heading into today's matchup against the Grizzlies. But James Worthy believes a lot of it is on Anthony Davis as well.
Anthony Davis not keeping his promise
The superstar big man put up 22 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 assists on 6-for-18 from the floor in Friday's loss to the Phoenix Suns. But just like his performance in the season opener against the Warriors, it's not about what AD did -- it's about where he did it from. Here's his shot chart thus far:
Going into the regular season, there were reports about AD preparing to play more minutes at the five. So far, we are yet to see that come to fruition -- Frank Vogel started both games with DeAndre Jordan alongside Davis. But even when he's playing the center position, a lot of his offensive moves start from the perimeter. That's why Worthy offered the Lakers' superstar a piece of advice.
"If I were AD, I would live in that paint," he said following Davis' performance against Phoenix. "My first ten shots would be in the paint, take my time, make some willing passes. That's where it is."
The Suns outscored the Purple and Gold 52-26 in the paint, capitalizing on the lack of true physical presence for the Lakers down low. Jordan obviously can't be that guy anymore. Dwight Howard, although providing some help, is far from a constant two-way player the Lakers need to contend. But Anthony Davis has all the tools to dominate the paint area on both sides of the floor. According to Worthy, that's exactly what he should do. Just not the way he's currently playing.
Out there, 12 feet, you're trying to go one on one after no movement, shooting fadeaway jumpers. To me, I just think he's our 5.
James Worthy, Spectrum SportsNet
Frank Vogel deserves some blame as well for not playing Davis more as a center. That's an adjustment he and the coaching staff will have to make moving forward. As far as AD, there's only one adjustment he has to make to help the team. "He's the guy that needs to go down in there, get damn nasty, and do it every night," Worthy said. "When you see the way you're being punked in the paint, someone's gotta take care of it, and he's the guy to do it."
The new scapegoat in town?
Davis has never been fond of playing the five due to how physically demanding it is. However, he did seem to have worked on his conditioning and durability during the offseason. With every loss, there will be more pressure on Vogel and AD to make that adjustment. But once they go for it, there should be no looking back.
Until then, Westbrook remains the Lakers scapegoat. But if the losses keep piling up, AD might be next. At least one of the organization's legends warned him about it.