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Purple & Bold: How Anthony Davis has withstood the spotlight for Lakers

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the Wednesday, Nov. 27 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.NEW ORLEANS — The tiniest changes can feel disorienting, but at least they’re easy to make.Anthony Davis felt a little turned around Wednesday morning as he entered the Smoothie King Center, the venue where he played the previous seven years of his NBA career. He mentioned to Danny Green that he had never come from the visiting side of the ramp before.Coming from a hotel in a city that used to be his home, Davis then took some shots on the court where he earned his way to six All-Star games. It felt familiar and just a little alien all at once. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error This is something that Davis has learned to grow into during the last few months: As a trade candidate who then became a Laker, the stage is larger than ever and far more intense for the 26-year-old. More introverted than teammate LeBron James, it’s been a challenge at times for Davis to be saturated with media coverage and scrutiny.Still, the production’s been there: 25.1 points, 9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a league-leading 2.9 blocked shots per game. He’s averaging 34 percent from 3-point range while shooting the most 3-pointers of his career. The line Davis is most proud of is the wins: 15-2 with the Lakers, and starring roles in many of those victories.In New Orleans, questions swirled as to whether Davis was capable of carrying a winning team.“I think the world didn’t believe that I was able to do the same things in ‘the spotlight,’ I guess, quote-unquote,” he said. “My teammates are doing a great job of helping me through that and then having a guy like LeBron, obviously, who’s been in that light his whole career has also helped me with that as well. My job is easy. Go out there and play basketball and the rest will take care of itself.”Of course, a good start isn’t quite the body of evidence that erases all doubt that you’re a winner. Until the moment Davis wins a championship in Los Angeles – the standard by which all great Lakers are judged – talking heads, and the public at large, will probably wonder if Davis is built for the heady media markets of the world.Up close, that speculation evaporates. Frank Vogel said Davis has been a likable, even fun and light-hearted personality in the locker room in addition to being an All-Star on the court. The Lakers coach said Davis has handled the pressure as well as could be expected thus far.James also knows a thing or two about how to deal with the kind of scrutiny (and scorn) that Davis will face in the coming season. While he’s got obvious bias, he thinks Davis is chugging along well: some good days, some bad days, but with a general upward slope.“He got some of it last year when the trade rumors started last year, and all those rumors started,” James said. “Then the rumors were coming to fruition and everybody was bringing his name up, every talk show, every radio show if you watch that type of stuff, his name was being mentioned. So a lot of the attention there, and rightfully so. That’s the caliber of basketball player he is. So I think he’s handled it with a lot of gracefulness, and it’s pretty cool to be around.”SEEING OLD FRIENDSDavis’ return is not the only reunion tonight. Obviously, there’s Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball to consider.While Hart has been laid up recently with an ankle injury and Ball missed practice on Tuesday with an illness, all three could play against the Lakers for the first time in their careers. It’s reasonable to assume an uncomfortable dynamic between the former “young core” and LeBron James, who seemed to speak Davis’ trade to the Lakers into existence.James didn’t acknowledge any awkwardness between him and his former teammates, saying it would be “great” to play against them.“All three of them have been put into a much better situation and they’ve taken advantage of it,” he said. “So it sucks to see some of your teammates go, then when you see them flourish and be able to get a new beginning, you’re super excited for them and proud of what they’re doing.”The Lakers, of course, have been put in a much better situation by acquiring Davis and building a more cohesive roster. Even Ingram acknowledged Tuesday that the league-leading Lakers have sported “better players” in their hot start. But Ingram himself has been tearing it up, too, which has given some air to a hypothetical question that lingers over his career: Would things have been different if he hadn’t gotten hurt last spring?There was a genuine ring to James’ comments as he spoke about how happy he’s been for Ingram’s return to the court following thoracic outlet surgery.“When the injury happened, the most important thing we were all sad about and thinking about is if he could play again,” he said. “Because for me, my good friend Chris Bosh was kinda going through the same thing and he never played again. So that was the first thing that crept into my mind, and was just praying and hopeful that B.I. would be able just to play the game again. And obviously he is playing again through the grace of God, and through the grace of the medical team, whoever he was dealing with throughout that whole process, and he’s having a career year.”— Kyle GoonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold newsletter. Receive it in your inbox, sign up here.FACING THE PE-LINK-ANSBack in the Big Easy – Anthony Davis spent the last few days bracing for an uncomfortable reunion.Ingram thrives after trade – The former Lakers now in New Orleans are finding their own sense of zen.Another what-if (about Boogie) – Even Davis wonders how his career might’ve changed if DeMarcus Cousins hadn’t ruptured his Achilles.Don’t call it a comeback – The latest version of LeBron James is still just as good as he’s always been in a win over the Spurs.Answering your questions – If you don’t follow our Monday mailbag, it’s a good time to start.center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I’m glad we had a shootaround,” said Davis, pleased to be a little reoriented.Every little adjustment could matter tonight as the Lakers take on the Pelicans in a charged atmosphere that everyone expects to be hostile toward Davis, the former No.1 overall pick who once carried the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. Being booed is no new thing for Davis, who faced angst at home after he requested a trade back in January. But the intensity of an ESPN-televised game in a prime NBA viewing slot combined with the simmering frustration of Pelicans fans could make for a high-pressure environment.The animosity isn’t necessarily happening between the lines (although the former Lakers who were traded away will surely try to bring their A-game). Jrue Holiday remains a close friend of Davis, and he publicly hoped that the Pelicans fans would be easy on him.Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was less prescriptive.“That’s for the fans to determine,” he said. “They pay their money, they buy their tickets, and it’s their prerogative to do whatever they feel they need to do. I mean, if you’re talking about my personal relationship, I think A.D.’s a great kid and a great player. It’s just, it is what it is.”last_img read more

O.B. street closure expansion sees little support

first_imgA request to expand the street closures in downtown Oak Bluffs saw little support from selectmen at their meeting Tuesday night.last_img