According to Ramona Shelburne, newly acquired big man Anthony Davis is already making an impact on roster decisions.
Report: Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play center
Shelburne told her ESPN colleague Stephen A. Smith on his radio show Monday that Davis lobbied the front office to sign Dwight Howard in the aftermath of DeMarcus Cousins’ ACL tear.
“The reason that Dwight is a Laker is because Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play the five,” Shelburne said, via Silver Screen and Roll. “He doesn’t want to play against the big centers in the Western Conference. He needs a big dude next to him that can eat up some of those minutes and take some of that physical pounding from Nikola Jokic, (Jusuf) Nurkic or any of the centers you want to name out West.”
Being a transcendent player has its benefits.
Lakers wise to listen to Davis
It makes sense that the Lakers would listen to Davis’ concerns here, in that a happy, healthy Davis is best for all parties. Listed at 6-10 and 253 pounds, Davis is more than capable of playing center. An elite defender, he can guard the rim as well as anybody in the league not named Gobert.
But Davis’ talents are many, and allowing him to stretch the floor as a power forward while protecting his body from the rigors of regular post play against the league’s strongest bodies is a recipe for success and perhaps a longer career.
Howard can provide value
Howard, meanwhile, is well suited for the role. A strong, big-bodied center, Howard was one of the league’s best defenders and rebounders in his prime. Despite the criticism he’s endured as a late-career journeyman, he’s remained effective on both fronts, averaging 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in his most recent healthy season with the Charlotte Hornets in 2017-18.
Injuries limited him to nine games last season with the Washington Wizards. But if he can remain healthy, he can play a valuable role in the Lakers rotation.
A big part of that value will be limiting the physical toll of the game on his superstar teammate.
More from Yahoo Sports: