He’s got big plans for defense, too.
Davis, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
“I want to be Defensive Player of the Year,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I think if I’m able to do that, I can help this team win. The offensive end will come around, but defensively, I want to hold myself, teammates, including LeBron, accountable in order for us to take on the challenge of being the best we can defensively. In doing so, we’ll have a good chance of winning every night. I want to make sure me and LeBron are on the All-Defensive Team. And for me personally, I just want to be the Defensive Player of the Year. If we’re able to hold teams under 100 [points], which is probably unrealistic but it should be our goal, I think we’ll have a shot at winning the title.”
LeBron has exerted minimal defensive effort the last few regular seasons, for better or worse.
The good: LeBron saves his energy for deep playoff runs. Into his 30s, he probably can no longer play all out in the regular season and into June.
The bad: LeBron’s teams develop awful defensive habits. That’s difficult to overcome suddenly, even with more effort, in the playoffs. His loafing also makes it hard for his teammates to take him seriously when he criticizes their devotion. Though his Cavaliers annually reached the postseason despite lax defense, that doesn’t work in the Western Conference. Last year’s Lakers missed the playoffs in part because they didn’t play to their defensive potential.
Davis could win Defensive Player of the Year. His length, mobility and hops give him elite defensive upside. He could cover for many of LeBron’s deficiencies.
But demanding LeBron brings enough intensity to make an All-Defensive team himself? That’s something else entirely.
Maybe Davis will get through to LeBron. And maybe that won’t backfire late in the season because LeBron shouldered too heavy of a burden early. But those are big ifs, and this is just another potential issue as a potential championship run and Davis’ upcoming unrestricted free agency loom.