Anthony Davis at the center is a strong possibility- Darvin Ham

Davis sat out the following night’s game against the Timberwolves, but when he returned Sunday, Ham decided to see how things looked with him in the starting line-up. If the head coach’s remarks following Monday’s practice are any indication, he must have been pleased with what he saw.

This offseason, the Lakers signed Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant to serve as a buffer for Davis. Nonetheless, with less than a week until the start of the season, Lakers coach Darvin Ham brought it up on Monday.

“AD (starting) at the five is a strong possibility,” Ham said after practice on Monday.

Despite the absence of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, Davis led the Lakers to a victory over Golden State. According to Ham, Davis’ performance demonstrated that he is a multi-level scorer capable of leading L.A.’s offense.

First and foremost, there is a clear disparity in the manner in which Darvin Ham and former head coach Frank Vogel reveal their starting line-ups. Vogel kept things close to the vest until minutes before tip-off, whereas Ham appears to be far more forthcoming with the information he gives to reporters.

Every season for the Los Angeles Lakers begins with the same news cycle and Davis has spent roughly 50 percent of his career asa power forward and 50 percent at the center, according to Basketball Reference (with a 57-43 split in favor of the 4 during his Lakers tenure). He started at power forward the previous season, but this could be the year he switches to center full-time.

Davis’ line-ups at the center have typically outperformed those at power forward and that makes sense. Big men have an easier time positionally when they are surrounded by shooting that is unlikely to come from a traditional center.

Davis is so good defensively that the Lakers have been able to hold their ground on that end of the floor even when he is their lone big man but playing center is more physically demanding than playing power forward and that is because Davis is prone to injury, which is the theoretical trade-offin here and so it makes no difference how well lineups with Davis at the center perform if he is unable to participate in them.

This is the compromise the Lakers are aiming for this season. They must maximize their players’ abilities, but not at the expense of further injury. 

Heretofore, this has meant starting Davis at power forward and moving him to center only when the situation calls for it. Perhaps Ham will reach that conclusion, orhe will be the coach who finally moves him to the center also not forgetting that anyline-upwith Damien Jones or Thomas Bryant in it will be slower than if one or both of them are on the bench, and the overall playmaking of the line-up will suffer as well. The Lakers would be able to run a variety of sets using Ham’s 4-in-1-out spacing system with Davis and four players from a pool of LeBron, Westbrook, Beverley, Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, and others.

Therefore, with the variety of things that those types of lineups can do on offense with their speed and playmaking, the Lakers could end up being a much better team than any of us could have hoped for this season. (Even without LeBron, Westbrook, and Beverley), the Lakers scored 124 points on Sunday night, with AD accounting for 28 of those and due to the complicated cost-benefit analysis, the Lakers have largely chosen to rotate Davis between power forward and center throughout his time in Los Angeles. The Lakers, however, may be ready to give Davis a more defined role as a 5 under first-year with coach Ham, who isn’t afraid to shake things up.