May 27, 2024

His outside touch has been remarkably better in two preseason games with the Lakers than it was at any time last season, the basketball leaving Anthony Davis’ hands a sign that he has regained faith in his three-point shooting.

While the sample size is very small, it has been encouraging for the Lakers to see Davis shoot the ball without any fear.

He has shot 50% (three of six) from three-point range in those two preseason games, 58% overall from the field. Equally as important, Davis has shot 83.3% from the free-throw line.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said that it was “just his confidence” that has allowed Davis to shoot the three with freedom.

“That’s something that he’s worked on — being a more consistent shooter and not just more consistent in his areas but consistent from deep range,” Ham said after practice Tuesday. “And not hesitating. Not overthinking it. So if he’s got a good look, we’ve all encouraged him to put it up.

“I told him, I want him, if he can — I know he won’t do it, but maybe he’ll shock me — but I’ve requested to see six three-point attempts a game. Three per half, at least. I wouldn’t put that on him if I didn’t think he was capable. He’s more than capable and I just think once he calibrates his mind to have that focus, he’ll do it. Amongst all the other things, the great things that he does.”

Davis’ struggles from behind the three-point arc last season was somewhat alarming, the 25.7% unsightly. That poor marksmanship even seemed to seep into his free-throw shooting, which was 78.4% last season. The thing is, Davis shot 56.3% from the field and averaged 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Over the summer, Davis made it a point to improve his shooting. It’s early in the preseason even, but Davis has looked better.

I just think him with a focus and a refusal to be stopped, it just gives everybody around him confidence,” Ham said. “He makes the game so much easier because, again, he can score from all three levels. He’s a great playmaker with the ball in his hands, getting his teammates the ball in really good positions for them to be successful. And his defensive prowess, it just gives him confidence. And everybody in this gym has all the confidence in the world in him. He’s the heartbeat of this team.”

Davis will be back at it again Wednesday night when the Lakers play the Sacramento Kings at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

He’ll be without LeBron James, whom Ham said “will be out,” and possibly without Cam Reddish (right ankle soreness) and Jarred Vanderbilt (left heel soreness), both of whom Ham said were “day to day” and that the Lakers “will gauge it and see what makes sense.”

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