Anthony Davis has been in the NBA since 2012, but the veteran says he expects to be antsy before his first regular-season game with the Lakers.
"There will be some butterflies and just being nervous," Davis told USA Today about his debut with the Lakers against the Clippers Tuesday night.
And why wouldn't there be? This is the first time Davis has played for an NBA team other than the Pelicans, and he is expected to be part of the ultimate tag team with LeBron James.
For Davis, joining the Lakers is a dream come true. He already spent the offseason in Los Angeles during his seven-year career with the Pelicans, which ended not long after Davis requested a trade earlier this year.
Sure enough, Davis was sent to the Lakers in June in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and draft picks. Despite the pressure to be the spark the Lakers need, Davis said the outcome of this first game isn't going to deter him.
"Hopefully afterwards, it is a good feeling," Davis said. "Even if we lose, it’s still going to be a good feeling knowing that I got to play at Staples (Center) for the first time. It’s going to be a great season. We’re going to make sure we have fun with it."
While Davis and the Lakers will face NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in his first season with the Clippers, their opponents will be without Paul George, who is still recovering from a shoulder procedure.
Even though the first game is on Tuesday, Davis has been training as a Laker long before that. He organized team practices before training camp even started, and said he's working on trying to find the best commute to the Staples Center from his LA home rather than socializing at Los Angeles' restaurants and bars.
"It’s about being the best rim protector I can be and guarding the perimeter, talking on defense and helping guys out," Davis said. "It’s about helping this team to be a top-three defensive team in the league this year. In order for us to do that, we all have to come out with a defensive mindset. That starts with me and ‘Bron. For me, I want to be the one that leads the charge defensively."
The Lakers and Clippers tip off Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.