LOS ANGELES — Big men stretching the floor as shooters are required for any successful NBA team in the modern NBA. Heck, the Pelicans’ Jonas Valanciunas leads the NBA hitting 51.7% of his 3s (2.5 attempts a game). Just ask the Clippers what he can do.
Anthony Davis hasn’t regained his bubble shooting form and is hitting just 20.5% from 3 (2.1 attempts a game). But he knows he needs to keep shooting them, and he will.
“I’m going to continue to shoot the ball from 3, whether it goes in or not,” Davis said after the Lakers hung on to beat Detroit Sunday night, a game was Davis was 2-of-2 from deep. “I think that opens up the floor for my teammates — LeBron [James], Russ [Westbrook], Talo [Talen Horton-Tucker] — to get downhill. And it opens it up for me to get to the paint when guys run out and are closing out to the three,” Davis said. “I’m just trying to be effective at all three levels of the floor, and it was going for me tonight.”
The Lakers have been at their best with Davis at center and the team’s other two stars — LeBron James and Russell Westbrook — on the court, that lineup has been +7.7 per 100 this season (for Lakers’ fans, that stat is the ray of hope in an otherwise unimpressive start to the season). Part of what makes that lineup work is that Davis can step out and has to be respected from distance, which opens up driving lanes.
It’s why Davis is right, he needs to keep shooting. But if he doesn’t start hitting, some of that spacing will go away.