Anthony Davis‘ defensive woes on Lakers Rotations are not because he’s a terrible defender but rather a casualty of circumstance. Individually Anthony Davis is a very good 2-way basketball player and well rounded for his size. The problem is with the situations Lakers rotation find themselves in on a nightly basis.

This article is inspired mainly by a response I was mounting for a tweet by a seemingly frustrated LakersSpin ;-

In fact, also another friend of mine with whom we’ve had numerous conversations and disagreements regarding Anthony Davis and Lebron James shared his frustration to the same concern;-

And I entirely sympathise with them and agree, this level of disrespect and slander to Anthony Davis is completely outrageous. People forget that Davis was once a guard in high school before the growth spurt. Such sudden changes slightly affect adjustments with players who don’t rely very much on high IQ to excel. Simply Put, Anthony Davis is one hell of a generational player, so let’s put some respect to his name.

For more information on Anthony Davis’ sudden monster growth spurt back when he was in high school, read articles;- Anthony Davis Grew 8 Inches In 18 Months In High School, And It Gave Him The Most Unique Skillset In The NBA by Tony Manfred published on Oct 27, 2014, 8:25 PM and The summer when a skinny Anthony Davis had Chicago ‘buzzing about him’ by Brett Dawson published on Feb 15, 2020.
Players like Lebron James have been able to adjust to all positions even though he entered the league as a small forward because he has a high IQ. Lebron has played the point guard position, small forward position, power forward position over the stretch of his career.  And most recently, he is rumoured to possibly appear in Laker’s positionless rotations at the Center position.
Former NBA Players like Charles Barkley known to take shots at current players had this to say;-

The problem at hand.

Although the notion of Anthony being a bad defender is hard to comprehend, this is actually possible. In fact, I think he’s facing something similar to Kawhi Leonard‘s tenure with the San Antonio Spur. But before I continue allow me to point out that in arguments involving NBA Fans, All opinions often have biases.

Individually both players are very good defensive pieces except when in some of their team’s rotations (Lakers and Spurs in this case). Where these teams suffered defensively.

If you watch Lakers basketball when Davis plays and compare it to Spur basketball on some occasions when Kawhi was in the rotation, you will note that when these two players slack on defense, the teams suffer because oftentimes then no one covers for them.
thunder vs spurs

The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the San Antonio Spurs to take a 3-2 series lead. Sources: Thunderous Intentions

From what I managed to gather as far as Kawhi was concerned, coverages were terrible when he was on the court as the team expected him to make a defensive stop. The same thing is happening to AD. Having noticed this I did go on to do some search and landed on the article;- Kawhi Leonard is so great at defense, he’s actually hurting the Spurs by By Matt Moore published on Dec 13, 2016, at 11:03 am ET.

Also, Read Sports Science is the future of Sports Success.

Except for Lebron James, most Lakers defenders never seem to chase down on blocks or make high IQ defensive stops. In fact, in most cases when AD doesn’t attempt to shot block, the opponent will likely get an open look at the rim weakly contested or even uncontested. Nonetheless, players like Avery Bradley, Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves,  at the time of writing this article deserve special recognition for their defense so far.

Lakers defense

Laker’s defensive struggles. Image source: Ashley Landis/Associated Press via Bleacher Report

In Spurs, on the occasions Kawhi didn’t step up to a defender or make a steal expecting a teammate to cover for him, the opponent would score because his teammates were also expecting Kawhi to make the defensive stop.

All in all, it’s not like these 2 players are defensively bad but rather need to be on team rotations where 2 or more players match their defensive effort at all times just like Kawhi on Raptors or Clippers.

For a lakers rotation to flourish defensively with AD, Lebron has to be the weakest defender at the time. And this is not because Lebron is a bad defender but because of his age and cherry-picking tendencies. Lebron’s defence is noticeable when games are on the line or in the playoff. He’s also been noted to shut down the other team’s best player when he chooses to. Not to mention, even in year 19, he’s still very valuable offensively unlike most veterans his age currently and in the past.

Also, Read LeBron James at center set to become the Lakers latest experiment.
AD’s issues at the 5 come down to rotations and effort. And it’s not his fault.  So AD is not the problem but rather the other players. We can say for him as it was said of Kawhi that, “Anthony Davis is so good defensively, he is actually hurting the Lakers.