Lakers Dominating at Center Position!
How JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, and Anthony Davis have redefined and transformed the power of the center position in the modern NBA
While the rest of the NBA has been disrespecting and diminishing the role of centers in the modern NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers have embraced the full power of the position to build a dominating championship contender.
In a league overloaded with teams built to play small, the bully ball Lakers roll out lineups with such unmatched size and length and intimidating athleticism and physicality that it’s literally like men playing against boys. The Lakers’ three-headed trio of centers in JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, and Anthony Davis provide the team with an old school style of low post power offense and defense that’s totally dominated opponents in the paint.
The Lakers dynamic center duo of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard cover two thirds or 36 of the 48 center minutes in each game, enabling Anthony Davis to play most of his minutes at his preferred power forward position. The combined production from their three-headed center provides the Lakers with the equivalent of an elite All-NBA center that averages 22.7 points, 16.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.6 blocks per game.
The impact of the Lakers’ dominance at center has been a huge reason behind the team’s early season success and league best 24–3 record as opposing teams have struggled to contend with their size and physicality. When you combine the size and length of Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard with the brute power of LeBron James, it’s easy to understand why opposing teams cannot keep up with Lakers’ power game.
Offensively, the Lakers outscore opponents in the paint by a league best 10.0 points per game. They rank #3 in the league by scoring 53.1 points in the paint per game and #5 by allowing 43.1 points in the paint per game. They even boast a better advantage with a league best 3.6 blocked shots differential per game. They rank #1 in the league by blocking 7.1 shots per game and #1 by allowing opponents to block just 3.5 shots per game.
Dunks are another factor that measures the intimidating nature of a team’s style of play. Through December 13th, the Lakers quartet of JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James have made 204 dunks. No other NBA team at this point of the season has close to as many dunks as the Lakers as a team have thrown down. We may be in the three-point shot era but a dominating dunk is still the ultimate intimidator in the NBA.
Going with an old school center game has made the Lakers a difficult team for the rest of the NBA to handle. The Lakers’ game is not only perfectly designed to win on the road but also the ideal formula to win in the playoffs. It’s still early in the season and the Lakers will need to stay healthy but their strategy to zag while the rest of the league is zigging gives them a great chance to finally win their seventeenth NBA championship.
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