Los Angeles Lakers: How Anthony Davis found his Mamba Mentality

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

Anthony Davis has found his Mamba Mentality.

Anthony Davis has received heat for his erratic performances in the bubble for the Los Angeles Lakers. I have given AD heat for not being more assertive in the paint. He often played like a “modern” big man and not the old-school dominator against overmatched foes.

Last night, Anthony Davis changed the narrative. AD finally took the first step to enter the echelon only worthy of the Los Angeles Lakers all-time great big men, entering the rarified air reserved for Laker greats George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Pau Gasol.

All these legends had a unique hall of fame caliber skillset. They all had rings too.

Anthony Davis is not there yet. AD does not have a ring.

Let me say it again: Anthony Davis will only officially enter the upper echelon of Lakers’ big men once the Lakers win the championship.

Of course, AD taking the first step to all-time greatness just so happened on 08/24. A momentous occasion because our hero, the late Kobe Bryant, wore both #8 and #24 on the Lakers and his 42nd birthday would have been a day prior.

On a side note, it is still hard to fathom that Kobe is no longer with us… I am saddened to think about Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant. Gianna had her whole life ahead of her.

Very, very sad.

How does Anthony Davis compare to Kobe Bryant? The similarities are striking. 

Going back to AD, he is often mistaken as just a modern-day center. He is firmly a mid-range guy, more so reminiscent of a hyper-modern 1990’s power forward with point guard skills.

Mid-range guy. Like Kobe.

Hence why both AD and Kobe have always preferred to set up in the mid-post area. Phil Jackson’s triangle was the ideal template for Kobe Bryant to emulate certified GOAT Michael Jordan.

Like MJ, Kobe often posted up at the right block. Once Shaq left, Kobe reprised Jordan’s role in former Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.

The template looks different today. Anthony Davis does not post-up as often as Kobe or MJ. The Lakers no longer run the triangle.

AD still gets plenty of looks from the mid-post area, however.

The geometry behind the other four players looks much different than the triangle offense. The triangle is designed to disguise options and movement to get the top scorer open looks in the mid-post area. It is an antiquated offense because the math frowns upon anyone taking mid-range shots.

Unless if it’s Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan taking those shots.

Today’s Lakers run a modernized 4 out, 1 in offense with much more expansive spacing than Michael Jordan or even Kobe enjoyed.

Setting up AD’s post-ups in the mid-block area is a little more straightforward. When AD plays the 4, another big man is positioned in the opposite short corner, whereas four perimeter players surround AD when he plays the 5.

AD’s mid-post scoring is much more impressive because he has much less time to decide on how to attack the defense.

Today’s offenses are much faster; so are today’s defenses. It is much easier to initiate double-teams against a modern-day, well-spaced offense because defensive rotations are routinely accustomed to closing out in 4-on-3 situations on the perimeter.

A quick-release is now required to score in the midrange area. Consistent shooting mechanics are crucial when a second defender comes quickly.

AD wisely spent a lot of time refining his shooting mechanics last summer. The work shows.


Good shooting coaches are in high demand. Anthony Davis has an effortless shooting form. He is able to quickly reverse pivot into his jump shot without any wasted motion.

AD’s quick release is a big deal given how quick defenses are nowadays.

The outcomes against double-teams are less fruitful now. Back in the day, an ideal offensive outcome against a double team led to a dunk.

Now, it’s an open three-pointer. Good for most teams. Not good for the Lakers.

To summarize my points, AD and Kobe’s point of attack and subsequent options against the corresponding defensive rotations are different. The way AD and Kobe got their buckets look the same at first glance but is different upon a closer look.

Kobe took his time and elevated over defenders with his signature fadeaway. AD usually reverse pivots off the catch and shoots over opposing big men before the double team can materialize.

Both shots are beautiful in their own way. However, behind the glitz and glamour of both Kobe’s fadeaway and AD’s efficient turnaround lies an unmistakable truth: one of his teammates made a great post entry pass to set it all up.

Give credit to AD’s teammates for passing him the ball early and often – and for also having the Mamba Mentality!

Blood was in the water. The Lakers were the sharks tonight.

Anthony Davis led the way though!

AD’s first quarter stat line was eye-popping: 16 points, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. But the stat sheet did not do AD’s performance justice!


AD had 2 blocks but had disrupted many more of Portland’s shot attempts. His defensive footwork was on point in corralling Portland’s best play, the Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic pick-and-roll. He took a charge on Portland star Carmelo Anthony.

All in all, a masterpiece.

Relax and enjoy the Twitter montage for a minute. It’s beautiful.


Conclusion: none of AD’s greatness matters if the Los Angeles Lakers don’t win it all!

Of course, for Anthony Davis to truly enter the pantheon of Lakers’ greats, his team must win the championship this year.

The Los Angeles Lakers look good right now; they may not look as good if they struggle again. Houston or OKC figure to be a tough matchup in the next round. Their future opponents beyond the second round are unknown.

Regardless of how their path looks, Anthony Davis is primed to be an all-time great if he can adopt the Mamba Mentality.

40 greatest Lakers of all-time. dark. Next

Kobe Bryant would be proud. Gianna too.