Why Anthony Davis Must Tell Coach Frank Vogel He Needs to Play the Five

If Anthony Davis wants to win Defensive Player of the Year this season and cement his legacy as one of the next group of superstars competing for Best Player on the Planet, he needs to tell Frank Vogel to start him at the five.

No more wishy washy comments about not wanting to bang with centers. No more wonky excuses for not playing the position at which you are universally acknowledged as your best position and the best way you can help the team. This is the year when the Lakers need you to become the best player on the team, to take the baton from LeBron and make the huge leap from Robin to Batman, to show the Lakers Nation what they can expect when James retires.

There’s a time in every great player’s career when he faces a key decision on what he needs to do become the best possible version of himself. That time has now come for Anthony Davis, who needs to embrace playing the five.


While it’s possible for Anthony Davis to win DPOY as a power forward, the simple reality is that 19 of the last 25 players to win that award were centers, including Rudy Gobert, who has won DPOY three of the last four years.

Despite his defensive heroics, Anthony Davis has never won Defensive Player of the Year. When the oddsmakers opened their lines for who would win the DPOY for the 2021–22 season, Davis was ranked fourth with +800 odds. After the recent announcement that Anthony Davis would likely play most of his minutes at center, the odds he would win the award dropped to +500, tied for second with Ben Simmons and behind only Rudy Gobert’s +380.

Centers may be losing value as the NBA evolves into positionless lineups but one responsibility centers still dominate is anchoring team defenses. Playing center will unlock Anthony Davis’ rise as the Lakers’ next great center.


The Los Angeles Lakers’ legacy as a franchise has been renowned for having the greatest collection of centers in the history of the game, including George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O’Neal.

In many ways, Anthony Davis’ recent preference for playing power forward since being traded to the Lakers has often been viewed as a negative by many of the reporters who vote for the various regular season and playoff awards. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine Wilt, Kareem, or Shaq asking to be excused from playing center because of the physicality that comes with the position. It’s time for AD to lead the resurrection reestablishing the value of centers.

In many ways, AD hesitating to play center reminds me of Ben Simmons hesitating to shoot jumpers. Superstars are expect to do whatever they need to help their teams win. For Anthony Davis, that means playing center.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of Lakerholics.com, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.

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Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of Lakerholics.com, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.

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