Boston Celtics two-way star Marcus Smart reveals how and why is Lakers big man Anthony Davis one of the toughest players he has ever guarded.
Anthony Davis is one of the toughest forces in modern basketball. Apart from being able to shut down the opposition’s best player on the defensive end, AD is more than capable to drop an insane number of points at will.
With career averages of 23.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, The Brow has one of the best resumes for a big man currently in the league. In the 9 seasons as a professional in the NBA, Davis is an 8-time All-Star, 4-time All-NBA player, 4-time All-Defensive, 3-time Block Champ, an All-Star Game MVP and even won his first-ever ring the year he joined forces with LeBron James at the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020.
Marcus Smart, one of the better guard defenders in today’s league, is just one of many elite defenders who Anthony has managed to get going for a scoring outburst. And back in 2019, Smart spoke about the difficulties he faced while guarding the 6-foot-10 PF for the first time they matched against each other. In his “The Players’ Tribune” article, the Celtics swingman wrote:
“I remember one of the first times I guarded A.D. He got me down in the post, but I had great position. I was using my strength to keep him away from the basket and I was forcing him to where I wanted him to go. I was feeling good.
And then he literally just turned and shot over me. Like it was nothing. That was one of the rare times where I thought, Wow, I can’t guard this guy…. I felt completely helpless.”
Marcus Smart talks about the grave difficulty in guarding a versatile big man like Anthony Davis
Standing at 6-10, weighing 250 pounds, Davis is not one of those conventional big men. In fact, apart from being a menace in the paint Anthony can also handle, shoot, pass the rock as efficiently as a guard. Being such an incredibly well-rounded player, Marcus talks about the difficulties of guarding a versatile big man like AD.
“When I get into a situation like that, I just have to go back to the drawing board. Back to the concrete-court days with my brothers — and get a little clever. I mean, he’s a 7-footer who plays like a guard, and he can shoot right over you. I’m only 6′ 3″. I’m not going to beat him at his game. So I have to figure out a way to flip the odds in my favor and gain the advantage.
And the way I do that against A.D. is to use my speed. That’s where I have the edge.
Big guys are taught to not bring the ball down low against guards because, unlike bigs, guards can sneak in there and take it. So I’m always looking for that. Like I said before, I try to force guys to their weakness. And even though A.D. has a good handle, especially for a 7-footer, that’s not his strength. So I’m staying up on him, pressuring him, trying to make him be a ballhandler.
And if he brings it down low, I’m using my speed to go down there and take it.
Just the constant threat of me being ready to shoot through and take the ball every time he puts it down is enough to give him something to think about. To make him uncomfortable.
That’s what you have to do against a guy with that kind of a size advantage. Disturb him. Wear him down mentally as much as possible. And it’s getting a lot tougher to do that against A.D. Because as he becomes a more experienced player, he’s getting more and more confident.”