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Lakers’ Ham wants AD shooting six 3s per game

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Lakers’ Ham wants AD shooting six 3s per game

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham is doubling down — if not tripling down — on Anthony Davis as a 3-point threat this season.

“I want him, if he can — I know he won’t do it, but maybe he’ll shock me — but I’ve requested to see six 3-point attempts a game,” Ham said after practice Tuesday. “Three per half, at least. I wouldn’t put that on him if I didn’t think he was capable.”

Through two preseason games, the Lakers big man is keeping up with his coach’s call, going 3-for-6 on 3-pointers in 27 combined minutes of limited action against the Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets. It would be a significant increase for Davis, who only averaged 1.3 attempts from 3 last season. The most he’s ever averaged in a season was 3.5 attempts from 3 in 2019-20 — his first season with the Lakers.

For context, All-Star guards Darius Garland and Devin Booker both averaged 6.0 attempts from deep last season and the only players in the entire league to get consistent minutes at power forward or center and shoot at least that many 3s were Julius Randle (8.3) and Lauri Markkanen (7.7).

Davis spent time with Lakers assistant coach Chris Jent during the offseason working on his outside shot after shooting 25.7% from 3 during the regular season last year and 33.3% in the playoffs.

“Just getting back to being a threat at all three levels,” Davis said when asked about his outside shot during the team’s annual media day last week. “Not sure where it’s at until we get into practices and games. Anybody can shoot in workouts and make shots when there’s no pressure on them.”

A consistent jump shot would be a welcome improvement for Davis, who has struggled mightily from the outside ever since the Lakers’ 2020 championship run. During that postseason run in the Bubble, Davis had an effective field goal percentage of 53% on 162 jump shot attempts, which was above the league average for the 2020 playoffs.

Since then, however, Davis has had an effective field goal percentage of 38% on jumpers in the regular season and playoffs. That ranks Davis dead last among 245 players with at least 500 jump shot attempts in the last three years, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Davis’ inaccuracy from the outside was reflected in his team’s performance the last several seasons. L.A. ranked 25th in team 3-point percentage last season (34.6%); 22nd in 2021-22 (34.7%); and 21st in 2020-21 (35.4%).

Through those two games against the Warriors and Nets this preseason, L.A. has performed better as a team from deep, going 35-for-93 (37.6%).

“We talk about getting more 3s up,” Davis told reporters after the Brooklyn game. “Obviously it’s been a point of emphasis and the way the league has shifted, a lot of 3s. But they all came in rhythm … We just want to be confident in our shots and let it fly.”

Ham plans on continuing to encourage Davis to shoot it from beyond the arc when the regular season opens up on Oct. 24 against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

“That’s something that he’s worked on — being a more consistent shooter and not just more consistent in his [normal] areas but consistent from deep range,” Ham said. “And not hesitating. Not overthinking it. So if he’s got a good look, we’ve all encouraged him to put it up.”

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