With training camp for the 2023-24 season nearing, the Los Angeles Lakers are preparing to hit the court for what could be an exciting and very successful season for them. They appear to have a stacked roster, and therefore an 18th NBA championship is a realistic goal for them once it’s all said and done next summer.
To accomplish that goal, a number of players will need to play up to their potential. Therefore, we have identified three goals for each Lakers player that, if attained, will help the team win it all.
Whether fans want to admit it or not, Anthony Davis is coming off arguably his most productive season ever. His three goals for this season seem simple, but if he accomplishes them, it could result in a Larry O’Brien Trophy for him and his teammates.
This one goes without saying, as health has been the big bugaboo for Davis over the years. He missed about five weeks last season with a right foot stress injury, and in the last five seasons, he has appeared in at least 60 games just once.
However, it should be noted that he did play in 75 games apiece during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, so avoiding significant injury does seem to be something that is realistic for him, even if no one expects it to happen.
Luckily, this season the Lakers are better equipped to withstand what seems to be Davis’ annual injury thanks to last season’s trade for forward Rui Hachimura and this summer’s signing of big man Christian Wood. Still, they cannot afford to be without him for an extended stretch.
Improved perimeter shooting
After he was very accurate from 3-point range during the second half of the 2019-20 regular season and all through the playoffs, he has regressed in that department since. He made just 25.7 percent of his treys last year, and during the 2021-22 campaign, he was even worse at 18.6 percent.
Los Angeles has added backup center Jaxson Hayes, who is no perimeter shooting threat but does project as a nice target near the rim on pick-and-rolls, lob passes and fast breaks. Whenever Davis takes the floor with Hayes, he will need to hit enough perimeter shots to open up opportunities for the 23-year-old pogo stick.
Be consistent and hungry
Many people got on Davis for what seemed to be up-and-down offensive production during the playoffs. One night he would be prolific offensively, only to put forth a dismal effort in the very next game.
This issue did improve for him starting in the second round against the Golden State Warriors. In addition, even when he played poorly on offense, his defense and rebounding remained outstanding.
Davis may not need to average 30 points a game, and like anyone else, he will have the occasional bad shooting game. But what he needs to avoid is having a bad offensive outing because of a lack of intensity.
One strategy teams succeeded with last season was double-teaming Davis, whether he had the ball or not. Head coach Darvin Ham will need to find a remedy for this strategy in order to spring Davis loose and allow him to do well regardless of the defensive coverage he faces.