3 things Anthony Davis must do to win his first Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021-22 NBA season

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis will be looking for redemption after an injury plagued season where the Lakers crashed out in the first round of the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns.

Davis, unfortunately, had yet another season cut short by injuries and ended up missing 3/4th of the season playing only 32 games. The Lakers were badly affected by his absence and were unable to play with freedom without the defensive blanket that he provided.

A healthy Anthony Davis is one of the deadliest two-way weapons in the league and an MVP candidate due to his defensive versatality and offensive might, as he plays like a big with a guard's handles.

Davis' size, length, reach and speed allows him to guard 1-5 snuffing out the opponent's best players on a regular basis. The ideal example was when he guarded Jimmy Butler during the 2020 NBA Finals and took him out.

There was nothing wrong with Jimmy Butler in Game 4, it's just Anthony Davis was the one guarding him. On #TheRestart, @KevinOConnorNBA breaks down AD's defensive masterpiece.➡️:

If he is able to stay healthy Anthony Davis is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate for his exploits but to win it he would have to make sure of a few things. Without further ado, here are the three things that Davis must do to win his first DPOY.

Three things Anthony Davis must do to win his first DPOY

Anthony Davis has come close to winning the Defensive Player of the Year award a couple of times but is yet to win it. The three-time NBA blocks leader will be looking to win his first this year as the Lakers embark on yet another championship run while relying on AD's dominance on both ends.

Winning the DPOY with other contenders such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert is a tough task but Davis has the skill and mindset to make that happen if he does a couple of things right.

#3 Dominate from the jump

Anthony Davis blocking a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies
Anthony Davis blocking a shot against the Memphis Grizzlies

Anthony Davis will have to set the tone for the rest of the season by looking to dominate from the jump at the very beginning of the season. A dominant AD is a scary sight to see for any opponent, with him having the aerial ability to contest and block your shot and the reach to pick your pocket.

The Lakers won their fifth straight game and Anthony Davis continued his case for DPOY with 11 boards, 4 blocks to go with his 25 points. The Lakers rank first in defense in the league at 96.3 and are at 94.3 when he's on the floor this season. HIs defensive highlights in W:

Davis will also have to hold his teammates accountable on the defensive end of the court as the DPOY usually goes to the most dominant player from the most defensively efficient team in the league.

With the Lakers being a more veteran heavy team and their offseason acquisitions being more offensively oriented, AD will have to be more vocal and step up as their anchor to make up for their defensive inefficiencies.

A maurading Anthony Davis patrolling the paint will strike fear at opponents, leading to their perimeter players stepping up their game and improving the overall defensive efficiency of the team.

#2 Play more minutes at center

Anthony Davis battling for a rebound against the Phoenix Suns
Anthony Davis battling for a rebound against the Phoenix Suns

As we all know by now, the Lakers are better off on both ends of the court with Anthony Davis playing center. Davis, until this season, has been reluctant to play the five and bang in the post with another big. However, stats show that the team is more efficient and has a better net rating when he plays there than his usual power forward position.

Davis at five unlocks better combinations for the Lakers and makes them more switchable with him being the last line of defense. They struggled against the Phoenix Suns and their staggered screens for Devin Booker during their embarrassing first-round exit, with Andre Drummond playing at center despite AD being better suited to thwart that.

Playing center is especially crucial this season with a more offensively oriented roster and the loss of good perimeter defenders such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

#1 Stay Healthy

A bulkier looking Anthony Davis during Lakers media day
A bulkier looking Anthony Davis during Lakers media day

The biggest drawback in Anthony Davis' up until now has been his inability to stay healthy. Davis' career has been plagued by injury, with him completing 75 games only twice in his career.

Last season was yet another example of the huge implications Davis' injury history has had on his franchise's playoff chances. While healthy, AD is one of the most dominant two-way players we have ever witnessed. However, the health factor has been more of a question mark off-late.

Having said that, AD looks a lot fitter and seems to have added on muscle in the off-season after working hard to be in better shape. If Davis does remain healthy and can play have a 75 game season, the Lakers will be in prime position prior to heading into a critical post-season run.

Anthony Davis at 2019 Media Day vs 2021 Media Day
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Edited by Rohit Mishra


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