L.A. Notes: Davis, Clips Arena, Harkless, Lakers’ Pace

The Lakers are off to a terrific 20-3 start, and seemingly in the thick of the hunt for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. All-Star power forward Anthony Davis has been making an early case for some hardware all his own: the Defensive Player of the Year award. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin spoke with Davis about the prospect.

“A couple of years ago, I feel like I should have won it,” Davis told McMenamin, who notes that Davis finished third to Jazz center Rudy Gobert in 2017/18. The Lakers big man has made three All-Defensive teams.

“I think he can and will win Defensive Player of the Year this year,” McMenamin cites Lakers head coach Frank Vogel as saying on Davis earlier in the week. “There’s no one in the league like him defensively in terms of being able to guard all positions, protect the rim the way he does and deflect the basketball,” Vogel said.

Bench point guard Rajon Rondo noted his own high confidence in Davis, with whom he has played on both the Pelicans and Lakers. “I got him as MVP and Defensive Player of the Year,” Rondo said.

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • Following a year of negotiations, the Clippers‘ proposed new 18,500-seat Inglewood arena has just been given a fast-tracked green light by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Jason Henry of The Orange County Register reports. Now that CARB has ruled that the new arena will not yield a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the $1.2 billion project should be ready in time for the 2024/25 NBA season. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to stand by CARB’s decision and approve the project. Owner Steve Ballmer has long been pushing to move his team to its own arena and away from the Staples Center, located in downtown LA.
  • Clippers forward Maurice Harkless has been making his own impressive defensive impact, albeit on a smaller scale than Anthony Davis. The versatile, 6’7″ forward takes pride in guarding multiple positions, as Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register observes. The Clippers landed Harkless and his expiring $11MM contract as part of the four-team sign-and-trade that sent Jimmy Butler to the Heat. Head coach Doc Rivers tells Swanson that Harkless’ defensive range even surprised the seasoned coach. Before the season tipped off, “I thought he was gonna be a defender on the bigs, like the fours and the threes,” Rivers said. “But what’s surprised me is his ability to guard ones and twos.”
  • The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor tweets that the Lakers and Bucks (each 20-3) are both currently on pace to win at least 70 games a quarter of the way through the 2019/20 NBA season. O’Connor mentions that this marks just the fourth time in the last 40 years that a team in each conference has been on such a lofty trajectory at this point in the year. In each of the last three instances, one of the teams on this win pace wound up an NBA Finals champ.
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11 thoughts on “L.A. Notes: Davis, Clips Arena, Harkless, Lakers’ Pace

  1. Clippers should stop playing a round with the line up.

    Have it be Beverly George Leonard Green and Zubac.
    With Shamet Williams McGruder Harkless Patterson Harrell the bench options.

    Green is a solid PF who can score inside and out and also a good defender. Off the bench you have loads of options, the only 2 worries to me about this team is at C and Kawhi resting. I think they lack height, and I don’t trust Zubac.
    Harrell is only 6’7 but works extremely hard but I worry about them in the paint and rebounding when coming up against big teams.
    And Kawhi rest a lot of games and they now sit 4th in the west and he’s just such a huge loss to this team particularly on offence. Harkless or Shamet or whoever they plug to play his minutes doesn’t score even remotely close to how much he scores.

    Don’t think it wont happen but I think they should trade Zubac for Bamba. Bamba is a better shoot blocker, has higher potential, he’s fast, has a crazy wingspan and is getting better at learning to shoot the 3. He’s just not getting the opportunity to show his worth, Zubac can go to the Magic and play small minutes with decent impact off the bench.

      • Seen him play but still have my doubts. Mo definitely has a higher ceiling and will be better long term

  2. phillyballers

    Wouldn’t mind LBJ getting another ring. But not at the expense of the Sixers. This is probably LBJs best bet to win again tho with GSW down and a more even West.

  3. aircarter777

    No one in the league like Davis?? Thats a joke!! He’s good but Giannis is better offensively and for sure defensively. There has never been a player like Giannis. Plenty of Anthony Davis like players. AD is a coward too who couldn’t get it done on his own team so he’s trying to steal one with a legend.. No thanks, AD will never get a MVP or win a Defensive POY legitimately over Giannis.

    • You’re joking right? AD every bit as good as Giannis, and is a better overall offensive player – he has a consistent jump shot for one. I say that as a big fan of Antetokounmpo. He seems like the better dude though, I agree.

  4. harden-westbrook-mvps

    The Lakers were 17-10 about this time last year and still finished the season at 37-45. So what if they’re on pace to win 70 games. They won’t even win 60, that’s a guarantee.

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