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Offseason Beat

Anthony Davis Dialing from Distance

by Matt Stroup
Updated On: September 9, 2019, 11:05 am ET

43 days. 

As I sit down to write this on Monday, Sept. 9, that’s how long we have left until opening day of the NBA season (Oct. 22), and we do indeed have significant some news to discuss — so let’s hit it:

PG-13 behind schedule: Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes that “George’s timetable remains unclear, though it seems he will miss most of October (on the conservative side).” Buha has previously reported that Paul George’s debut may not come until “mid-to-late November”, which we could see as bad news — but there’s also a positive here. George when on the court should be a bona fide first-round caliber player (he was No. 3 in 9-category leagues last season), so this is a potential hack to get a second top-10 player on your squad after the first round. You’ll have to be willing to wait patiently at the start of the season and potentially navigate a rough start, but taking George and treading water until he’s back is an intriguing strategy — and one that could put you in great position to dominate once December hits. I’m eager to see where George starts going in mock drafts in the weeks ahead.

Sweet Lou and the changing L.A. landscape: In the same article, Buha writes “It’s hard to imagine a reality in which Williams fills the same role — the same touches, points, field-goal attempts, usage, etc. — that he’s earned over the past two seasons, now that Leonard and George are on the roster.” 

That’s a fair point — and it’s likely to affect Lou Williams’ draft position — but there’s also a counter argument to be made here. With George potentially missing a month or so to start the year, and Leonard likely to miss games intermittently, Sweet Lou is still going to get chances to carry a big burden at times. And if he falls far enough in drafts, I’d happily take him as a guy who can potentially put up 20-ish ppg as long as George is out (he averaged 20.0 ppg and 5.4 apg last season). Then, once George is back, Williams should still be a decent source of points and 3s — or at worst, a guy to throw into your lineup any time Leonard is sitting out. The Clippers have 20 games before the end of November, and if you factor in Kawhi missing 10-20 himself (a wide range, I know), you're looking at close to half a season of elevated opportunity for a guy who knows how to take advantage of it.  

Anthony Davis from distance: We also have word that Anthony Davis has honed in this offseason on improving his 3-point shooting. I listen closely any time a big man is talking about improving on 3s — Brook Lopez going from 0.0 to 1.8 from one season to the next is all the reminding I will ever need — so this is potentially exciting. Davis already averaged 0.9 treys a game last season on 33.1 percent shooting, and if he can boost that to something like 1.5 a game, we’re headed for uncharted territory. According to Basketball Reference, no one has ever averaged more than 1.0 3s, 1.5 spg and 2.5 bpg. Davis averaged 0.9 3s / 1.6 spg / 2.4 bpg last season (and Andrei Kirilenko once averaged 0.9 3s, 1.9 spg and 2.8 bpg, which is just insane). I’ll probably take Stephen Curry or James Harden first overall if I’m picking at the top of any of my leagues, but all things considered, I don’t think it’s crazy to consider AD.

Also Worth Noting: Dwyane Wade told the Los Angeles Times “I’m done” playing in the NBA, but he also said “Never say never.” … Zion Williamson gave a clear sign that his Summer League injury (a bruised knee) is no longer a concern during a promotional shoot in New York.


Matt Stroup

Matt Stroup has covered basketball for NBC Sports Edge since 2008. You can find him on Twitter here .