Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis just recently indicated a possible cause for his long-range shooting woes last year.
Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet reports that Davis revealed this week that he had been dealing with a wrist injury during the second half of L.A.'s miserable 2021-22 season, in which it went 33-49 and missed the postseason for the first time in A.D.'s Los Angeles tenure. Davis was sidelined for 42 regular season contests last season as a result of other, previously-known ailments: a left knee MCL sprain and a right ankle injury.
Per Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the wrist injury hampered Davis's follow-through on his shot:
For his career, Davis is a respectable (but still sub-par) three-point shooter, with a conversation rate of 30.3% on 1.6 attempts. During his first season in L.A., in which he and James led the club to its 17th NBA title, Davis made 33% of his 3.5 long-range takes a game during the regular season, and boosted that metric to 38.3% on 2.9 looks in the playoffs.
Last year, the 6'10" big man knocked down just 18.6% of his 1.8 looks from deep per night.
Beyond the three-point drop-off, he also had his worst-ever season from the charity stripe, though that wasn't nearly as precipitous a decline as his shooting beyond the arc. In 2021-22, Davis made 71.3% of his 6.1 free-throw looks a game, down a bit from his career rate of 79.4% on 7.0 attempts. During that standout first L.A. season, Davis got to the line and connected much more consistently: he nailed 84.6% of his 8.5 attempts, pretty elite for a big man.
Davis also connected on a career-worst 31.7% of his looks from 10-16 feet, far below his 42.3% average.
How much did the wrist injury affect his shooting? Time will tell, though it seems the answer is "somewhat." Maybe the eight-time All-Star won't be an MVP this season, but at the very least we can hope that the 29-year-old can stay healthier and bounce back to an All-NBA level.
One way L.A. could try to mitigate some of the wear and tear is a simple positional pivot. Davis logged the vast majority of his minutes at center last season. Los Angeles got younger at center this offseason, signing 27-year-old Damian Jones (the probable starter at the five) and 25-year-old Thomas Bryant. Moving Davis back down to power forward could help keep him from banging around in the paint quite so much, which could in turn preserve his body a bit better.