Coming into the 2020-21 season, champions Los Angeles Lakers were the favorites to win the NBA title. While teams generally prefer to keep their core of players together, the Lakers opted to ship out the supporting cast for a younger roster.
One of the biggest changes though was in their center rotation. In the 2020 season, it was the duo of Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee who were the center rotation for the team and did a great job in the position as they dominated the board and converted easy opportunities.
DENVER, CO – FEBRUARY 12: Dwight Howard (39) of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives LeBron James (23) after dunking against the Denver Nuggets during the second quarter on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)
But the experiment of Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell was a big disappointment in the 2020-21 season. While they have brought back Howard, it is rather unclear how the veteran is going to perform. So should the Lakers look for an alternative and play Anthony Davis as the center?
Why the Lakers should opt to play Anthony Davis at the number 5 spot?
One of the crossroads that Lakers had last season was whether to opt for a stretch five like Gasol or a shot blocker and rebounder like Andre Drummond. Given how trouble the duo looked in a starting role, it is safe to say that the Lakers were in a desperate need for a change.
A player who can be the perfect answer for this though could be their superstar Anthony Davis. While AD prefers to play as a starting power-forward, he has played in the center position as well. Not only is he an average three-point shooter, he is an elite shot-blocker as well.
This was even visible in the 2020 playoffs and even in the 2021 playoffs where the Lakers dominated the Suns with a healthy Davis. The former Pelicans’ superstar also has the necessary athleticism to cope up with world class guards and centers alike. Even recent reports emerge that AD and LeBron James might be up for a change in their positions as well.
While Davis can take the reins as a center, the Lakers will have to search for a capable power forward. Thankfully, they have had a fantastic off-season where they have added some much-needed depth to their side.
Trevor Ariza does make a great case. The veteran forward like Davis is versatile and can stretch the floor as well. Given his defensive prowess especially starting Ariza might be a better option than bringing in fan favorite Carmelo Anthony.
The Lakers starting five then not only will be capable of shutting down opponents, they can also hurt the team with their good three point shooting and incredible transition play. Starting Anthony Davis at the center position should be a no-brainer.
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