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Anthony Davis ‘not even going to sugarcoat it’ anymore: I like playing power forward, not center

Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Anthony Davis

EL SEGUNDO, CA - JULY 13 : General Manager Rob Pelinka and Head Coach Frank Vogel introduce Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a press conference on July 13, 2019 at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Anthony Davis willingly played center for the Pelicans last season.

But he has indicated he prefers power forward.

He had never been this direct, though.

Davis, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, left, addresses the media as he introduces Anthony Davis, who is flanked by head coach Frank Vogel,

“I like playing the four,” Davis said, referring to power forward. “I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. I like playing the four. I don’t really like playing the five.”

He turned toward Vogel, smiled and put his hand on Vogel’s shoulder.

“If it comes down to it, coach, and you need me to play the five, then I’ll play the five,” Davis said.

The Lakers must keep Davis happy before he hits free agency next summer.

They also must keep him healthy to compete for a title this season. Davis is prone to getting banged up, and those concerns are exacerbated at center.

Los Angeles has DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee as bigger centers. Those two can handle plenty of the load at the position.

But Davis is probably best at center. He’s big enough to handle the position, and his athleticism and skill carry even bigger advantages there. Davis playing center allows his team to put another smaller, generally more skilled, on the court. There will absolutely be times Lakers coach Frank Vogel should deploy Davis at center.

Still, there are balancing acts – prioritizing the immediate vs. long term, doing what’s best for the team while keeping players happy. Davis has discovered his power and is more eagerly exercising it. Having his trade request granted and getting to his preferred destination has only emboldened him.

Davis wants to win. He also wants things to happen on his own terms.

There will be a give-and-take on that as long he remains a star.