LOS ANGELES — To say Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis is eager to embark upon the 2022-23 season would be an understatement.
“I’m so excited that I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about this year,” Davis told Yahoo Sports this week. “I’m looking forward to a healthy year and doing what I know we can do.”
Having played in only 40 games due to injuries last season, and with the Lakers missing the playoffs altogether, the 29-year-old power forward said he’s on a mission to help lead the franchise to a bounce-back year.
“I went into this summer focusing on strengthening my body,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I have to be on the court and at my best to put us in position to be our best. I’m ready to do that.”
Head coach Darvin Ham will look to utilize the eight-time All-Star as the No. 1 offensive option to aid in minimizing the workload of four-time MVP LeBron James, who is entering his 20th season.
Davis said James, 37, has been in his ear about taking over the reins of the team, while the rest of the roster would follow his lead.
Being a dominant force on both ends of the court, the skill set is there. The question all along has been his durability.
Those close to Davis shared with Yahoo Sports that the forward had his best summer of training. There has always been chatter about Davis leading the Lakers for a full season, but those close to him believe he has positioned himself to do so this year.
“All I can do is lead by my actions,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I’m excited for this challenge and what’s ahead. I think we have a great group of guys to get the job done. It’s now about putting in the work.”
Ham has already put members of the team on notice: If you don’t commit to playing defense, you won’t play.
Offseason addition Patrick Beverley said he has already started watching film on some of the Lakers’ games from last season to get a feel for the defensive adjustments he can implement.
Davis said the team has bought into Ham’s defensive philosophy and he’s looking forward to it all coming together.
“That’s where we’ll be at our strongest, defensively,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I’m going to demand we stay committed and lead on that end, as well. I love playing defense. I think you’ll see a much different Lakers team, and I can’t wait to get out there.”