When Anthony Davis was officially introduced as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the major questions asked was whether he’d be willing to play minutes at center.
Throughout Davis’ career, the New Orleans Pelicans had no choice but to put him at center due to the dearth of options they had at the position.
However, those questions calmed down when the Lakers signed DeMarcus Cousins and re-signed JaVale McGee. Having two true and good centers meant that if Davis was going to play center, it was only going to be sporadically through the course of the 2019-20 NBA season.
However, Cousins went down with a torn ACL injury, meaning he’ll likely be out for the season. Cousins’ replacement, Dwight Howard, hasn’t played really consistent and good basketball in what feels like forever. As a result, the questions about Davis playing center rose up again.
While Davis wants to play power forward, there is one scenario where he reportedly is willing to play center, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
For Davis, the desire to play alongside a true center is real. Davis is comfortable playing minutes at center during the playoffs, a league source told The Athletic but prefers a true big next to him over a full regular season.
This is not the first time that Davis has come out against playing center. It was at Davis’ introductory press conference where he said that he wasn’t even going to ‘sugarcoat’ his preference to play at power forward:
“I like playing the four, I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. I don’t really like playing the five. If it comes down to it, coach, and you need me to play the five, I’ll play the five,” Davis said.
It’s comforting to know that during the playoffs, Davis will be a little more malleable on his preference to play power forward. Having Davis at the five and running a small-ball lineup of Avery Bradley, Danny Green, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, and Davis could be awfully dangerous — especially if they can replace Bradley with someone like Andre Igoudala.
The Lakers will have to play around that for the most part during the regular season, which will give Howard and McGee both an opportunity to show they’re ready for big-time minutes.