NBA

'Back where we belong' – Davis sets target as Lakers wait on Westbrook for NBA opener

By Sports Desk October 18, 2022

Anthony Davis declared the Los Angeles Lakers can banish sorry memories of the previous two seasons by roaring back to past glories in the new campaign.

The Lakers, NBA champions in 2020, lost in the first round of the 2021 playoffs before trailing in 11th in the Western Conference last term with a 33-49 record, missing out on the postseason.

Considering their star-studded squad, those were underwhelming performances, but this year Davis says the story can change. He is talking about championships again.

"We're motivated to get back to where we belong," Davis said.

"The last two seasons were not what we envisioned. It was not Lakers basketball and we know that, not what our organisation's standard is."

Coach Frank Vogel was sacked in April and Darvin Ham has come in, charged with getting the best out of a roster that, along with Davis, features the likes of LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

The star trio are listed as probable for Tuesday's season-opening game against last season's champions, the Golden State Warriors, at Chase Center.

Westbrook has been waylaid by a hamstring injury, and it remains to be seen how Ham uses him, if fit. He appears set for a reserve role, initially.

If the Lakers needed any reminder about their 2021-22 failings, it will come when the Warriors collect their championship rings, with the Los Angeles players knowing they simply were not a factor last time out.

After losing five of six warm-up games, the Lakers will know they cannot let that form drip into the new campaign.

Davis said: "Our standard is to compete for championships, and in the last two seasons we have not. So, it's motivation and hunger from every guy on the floor, everybody in the locker room, all the coaches, the front office, to make sure that we get back to that level of basketball that we know we can play at."

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