LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In all the defensive plans the Lakers have hatched this season, in all their looks and gimmicks, Anthony Davis was at the heart of them.
On some nights, he was the Lakers’ most physical shot blocker and rebounder. On others, he was one of their best defenders of the perimeter, thrown at guards and staying with them despite his six-foot height. Some nights he was both.
So it was no surprise, to the Lakers or anyone else in the NBA, when he was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team on Tuesday, the second time in his career that he has received that nod. Davis was the league’s third best shot blocker (2.3 bpg), averaging 1.5 steals per game.
The team has broad called him the setter for the Lakers defense, which finished fifth in defensive rating (106.6) during the regular season. The Lakers also noted that Davis finished first in the NBA in recovered loose balls (108).
The Lakers had fought for Davis for Defensive Player of the Year, and he was one of the finalists alongside eventual winner Giannis Antetokounmpo, but coach Frank Vogel said in their dressing room that Davis is seen as the most valuable defensive tool in the league.
“Obviously, the less you have to double up in this competition, the better your defense will be,” said Vogel. “The more flexibility you have, the better your defense will be. The more rim protection you have, the better your defense will be, and Anthony brings them all to the table. “
Davis has previously been on three All-Defensive teams and his previous appearance on the first team was for the 2017-18 season. It’s the first time a Laker has been on the first team since 2011, when Kobe Bryant made the last of his nine appearances.
Limited coach and staff guests allowed
After several coaches, especially Mike Malone from Denver, speaking of the discrepancy between players who were allowed to invite guests to the bubble and coaches who could not invite anyone, the NBA sent a memo to teams announcing a new staff and coach guest policy.
The catch is that only 10 guests are allowed per team.
Teams must decide on Wednesday which guests will attend, after which they begin self-quarantine and testing, and can arrive on September 14 for quarantine on campus at Disney World. The NBA will also set up a later September. 22 effective date.
The Lakers didn’t thoroughly discuss the memo, let alone who would go on Tuesday to focus on getting ready for Game 3. the team, and all hotel rates, including rooms, testing, and food, are paid out of pocket.
JaVale McGee re-entered the starting line-up on Tuesday-evening after flipping his left ankle in Game 2, as an MRI revealed no serious damage. Vogel said McGee wouldn’t have a minute limit.
But Dion Waiters was not so lucky. The Lakers shut him out of the game after evaluating his tense left groin. Vogel said the medical team would continue to monitor the injury from day to day.
The Rockets played without Danuel House, who was absent for personal reasons, along with Tyson Chandler. Only House plays in the rotation of the Rockets. Coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters the absence was unrelated to COVID-19, and the Houston Chronicle reported that the two players remained in the bubble.