Injury hurt Lakers’ Davis from distance last year

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — On the Los Angeles Lakers‘ road to the title in 2020, Anthony Davis showed the full versatility of his game, shooting close to 40% from 3 in the playoffs in the NBA bubble.

Last season, Davis’ outside shot fell off a cliff, with his 3-point percentage plummeting to 18.6%, contributing to the Lakers ranking 22nd in the league from beyond the arc.

It was a disappointing season overall for Davis, who missed 42 games because of 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 was battling a wrist injury the whole year,” Davis said. “So it was affecting my shot and everything. That’s not an excuse but it was tough for me to shoot how I wanted to shoot. I couldn’t really follow through.”

How bad was it?

“I couldn’t follow through,” Davis said. “Anytime I followed through it was very painful. And I had to try do that over and over.”

The Lakers center is confident that his approach to the offseason, which attracted some criticism in June when a video of Davis saying he hadn’t shot a basketball since the regular season ended two months prior circulated on social media, was prudent. He needed to get his body right first before resuming skills training.

“I’m 100 percent healthy,” Davis said. “I feel great. You can ask guys around here, I’m really shooting the ball. So, I’ll be ready. Wherever coach puts me on the floor, midrange, post, perimeter, if I’ve got 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 remains an area of concern for the team as well.

“I think in terms of shooting, that’s a needed skill,” Pelinka said during Monday’s media day. “Some of that can come from the outside, by additional roster moves or roster moves throughout the season. But shooting growth can also come from within, and we do feel like there are players on our team this year that you’re going see that growth.”

Ham mentioned Patrick Beverley, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn and rookies Max Christie and Scotty Pippen Jr. as standout shooters through the early part of camp.

Count Beverley as one of the players on the roster who is confident he can be dangerous from deep. When a reporter suggested to the veteran guard that his offensive role could include cuts to the basket this season, he quickly offered a retort.

“My numbers say I shoot 3s,” said Beverley. “I don’t know if I should be cutting. I don’t know if your numbers say, you’re a reporter or whatever. I don’t know if you should be a fireman or anything, not with your job and title. You wouldn’t want to do that, so I wouldn’t want to 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 at the forefront, because that’s what people see. But when it comes down to the numbers, I shoot with the best of them in the league.”

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