HS: It’s so cool. He’s so smart and funny. I love playing basketball with him. One day, when he was around five or six, we were walking and I had the ball and started doing tricks. He said he wanted me to teach him how to do that. I told him he needed to learn the fundamentals first, then I’d show him some tricks. So he agreed, and he’s becoming a really good player himself.
SN: What have you enjoyed the most about the challenge?
Anthony Davis has carried them. You’ve seen the highlights, and the numbers. But there is something more profound going on. Davis is dialed in — alert, engaged across every minute — in a way we haven’t seen before. We are watching experience and IQ catch up with athleticism.
On Monday night against Phoenix, Davis was guarding Dragan Bender when the Suns put him through a pick-and-pop. Davis corralled Devin Booker, who whipped the ball back to Bender behind the 3-point arc. Bender caught it, saw Davis recovering toward him, and unleashed a pump fake. Davis stayed down, and kept sliding toward Bender with one hand up. Bender, unnerved, shuffled his feet — a travel. Davis let out of a roar and clapped his hands.
It’s not that the former chiefs of Laker personnel, the duo of Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, paraded around town announcing the greatness the franchise was about to achieve once they unleashed their winning personalities on unsuspecting star free agents. But the pair never did much to proactively tamp down free-agent expectations among the team’s fans. Instead, they’d make their pitches, then wait a few hours for stories to leak about how badly the meetings had been bungled.
Give some credit, then, to the new guard, Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson. Two days before the trade deadline (and five months before the start of free agency), they made certain to put out an altered outlook for the franchise’s future. Talk of the potential signing of LeBron James this summer, with either DeMarcus Cousins or Paul George beside him, had gotten heated enough in the last half-year that some in LA began counting it as a foregone conclusion.
Thus, ESPN is reporting that the Lakers could well wind up focusing their attention not on the bustling free-agent class of 2018 �� with James at the helm �� but on the class of 2019, where disgruntled Spurs star Kawhi Leonard will be the big prize.