Los Angeles Lakers: 3 major questions ahead of the season restart

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

3. Will Anthony Davis win Defensive Player of the Year?

As all good head coaches do, Frank Vogel heaped praise upon his two superstars, strongly advocating for LeBron James to win the MVP and for Anthony Davis to win the DPOY award. Sadly, I think that Giannis Antetokoumpo has the former award all but locked up and in all honesty, deserves the DPOY award too.

However, whether it be due to voter fatigue, the difficulty of being a legitimate two-way superstar, or a combination of the two, it’s incredibly rare for a player to win both MVP and DPOY in the same season. Only two players have won both awards in the same season: Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

This leaves the door open for the DPOY to be won by someone else, and there is no better non-Giannis candidate for the award than Anthony Davis.

For the 2019-20 season, the Los Angeles Lakers are third in defensive rating, trailing Giannis’ Bucks and the Toronto Raptors. Individually, Anthony Davis has put up some monstrous defensive numbers, averaging 2.4 BPG and 1.5 SPG across the season.

Advanced defensive stats are also kind to AD. For the 2019-20 season, he ranks third in the NBA in Defensive BPM (behind Chicago’s Kris Dunn and Giannis) and is second in defensive win-shares (trailing Giannis).

Across virtually all other advanced defensive stats, including Defensive PIPM, Defensive RAPTOR, Defensive BPM 2.0, and Defensive Box RAPTOR, Davis is consistently ranked between the top 1-2% of the entire league.

Expectedly, AD is in the top 1% for block rate on contests, the top 1% for adjusted rim-points saved/36 mins, and in the top 6% of expected defensive FG% at the rim.

Perhaps more surprisingly, Davis is a very good wing defender too, as evidenced by being in the top 19% for passing lane defense and the top 14% for three-point attempts contested/75 possessions.

No matter how you slice it, when factoring in team defense, conventional defensive statistics, and advanced defensive statistics, Davis is one of the two best defensive players in the entire league. The only problem is that Giannis not only usurps him in the majority of advanced defensive categories but is the lynchpin of the #1 team defense in the league.

Next. 3 reasons why signing J.R. Smith was a bad move. dark

What are your burning Laker-related questions ahead of the season restart? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below.