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Anthony Davis has sparked a hot streak for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that run has been propelled by one player fans were ready to trade for anything.
The Los Angeles Lakers have turned their season around, moving from 2-10 after their first 12 games to 8-2 in their last 10. At 10-12, they still sit below .500, but they have convinced the league they’re not as bad as their slow start indicated they might be.
Anthony Davis has essentially been a microcosm of that turnaround, scoring 23.1 points on 53.4 percent shooting in the team’s first 12 games to 35.3 points on 64.8 percent shooting in the most recent eight. That culminated on Sunday night with a 55-point performance.
There is a lot to take away from Davis’s strong play, including a shot chart that looks vastly different from previous seasons with more 2-point attempts than in previous seasons with the Lakers.
But also within the turnaround has been a selfless acceptance of a role adjustment from Russell Westbrook, and Westbrook’s role change has helped unlock Davis.
Russell Westbrook is one of the key factors behind Anthony Davis’s strong play
71 percent of Davis’s field goals have been assisted over the team’s last eight games (one of which Davis sat out), with the most of those coming from Westbrook.
Westbrook is getting 3.7 assists per game to Davis (8.0 overall over the last eight games), and Davis is shooting 64.9 percent on passes from him.
Credit to Davis first and foremost, but Westbrook is doing his part too. And it comes off the heels of a very rough season and calls for the front office to do anything to trade him all offseason long.
Maybe the Lakers would be better off if they had convinced the Pacers to take him in return for Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, but reports have indicated that would have taken two draft picks as compensation for taking on Westbrook’s massive contract.
Right now, things look pretty good for the Lakers, and Westbrook might not be playing up to his contract, but he’s definitely not as much of a ball and chain as he was previously.
The front office doesn’t exactly earn an apology, but Darvin Ham’s decision to move Westbrook to coming off the bench helped him perform better and led to an unlocked Anthony Davis.