The Los Angeles Lakers lost Game 1 of their first-round matchup with the Phoenix Suns.
Suns take down Lakers, 99-90 in a wild Game 1
Booker: 34 PTS, 7 REB, 8 AST pic.twitter.com/sHaHsfFrKQ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 23, 2021
This wouldn’t usually be a big deal since the Suns are the second seed, whereas the Los Angeles Lakers are seventh.
The pedigree of these two players are one of a kind, which leads to their expectations being a little bit higher than the rest.
That’s why Davis’ performance in Game 1 was appalling.
He had 13 points and seven rebounds on 31 percent shooting.
Anthony Davis today:
0/2 3PM pic.twitter.com/6x9qVUcUT6
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 23, 2021
There were times Davis seemed disengaged from the game and just floating.
He was settling for jump shots rather than driving to the paint.
There was just no urgency from the eight-time All-Star.
His talent is unquestionable, but Game 1 was troublesome.
However, he can easily turn it around for Game 2 and the rest of the series.
Here is how that is possible.
Play the Five
The one thing Davis hates to do is play the five position.
He has publicly addressed how he doesn’t want to play the five and rather be the four most of the time.
The Lakers also don’t want him to the play the five due to a fear of Davis getting hurt down in the paint.
The problem is that him at the five is their best lineup by far.
This shouldn’t be some novelty lineup that is only used for a quarter.
Davis is a center in today’s NBA.
There is no doubt that his best position is playing the five.
However, we know that he doesn’t feel comfortable to do so.
Davis playing center and matching up with Deandre Ayton is the best option.
Also, the play of Andre Drummond has not been working for the Lakers.
Drummond on both ends of the court has not been productive since he was signed by the Lakers.
There is going to be a time where Drummond will need to be benched.
The best option for the Lakers to win the next game is to have Davis play predominantly at center.
No More Jump Shots
In Game 1, we saw Davis roaming around the three-point line.
He was playing as if he was a spot-up shooter ready for the corner three.
This is not the best way to utilize Davis’ talent on the court.
He should be in pick-and-rolls all game long.
That is where he truly thrives.
Davis is an athletic freak of nature, but he has been settling for outside shots since he returned from his injury.
Anthony Davis has shot 9/44 (20.5%) from three since his return from injury in April.
He is shooting 41.5% overall in that span. pic.twitter.com/B4yPjS5Zmg
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 23, 2021
Perhaps he is still banged up or is even fearful of getting hurt once again.
The issue is that we know what he is capable of as a roll-man instead of a jump-shooter.
The Lakers need to force the issue, before it is too late in the series.
The Suns have a gameplan that is working right now.
However, the Lakers can easily combat the Suns by adjusting Davis’ positioning on the floor.
Anthony Davis has to be better for Game 2.
If not, the Lakers are in serious trouble.