Los Angeles Lakers’ center Anthony Davis is living in the paint 13 games into the 2022-23 season. That’s exactly where the Lakers want him — and where he wants to be.

AD — who has exclusively played center amid Ham’s four-out, one-in system — has curtailed his jumpers (he’s 4-of-16 from 3) and made a concerted effort to dominate around the hoop. Of AD’s 214 shot attempts, 94 have come at the rim, of which he’s converted 75.5%. He leads the NBA in points in the paint (12.3) and is third in the NBA in paint touches per game (11.0), per NBA.com.

Even though Ham challenged Davis to take as many threes as he wanted, this was evidently AD’s plan all along.

Ahead of the Lakers’ matchup with the Detroit Pistons, Ham was asked about the uptick in paint attempts from Davis. According to the Lakers head coach, AD walked into Ham’s office during the preseason and used the written word to demand the rock.

AD’s scoring aggression has been a topic of conversation because he’s worryingly disappeared in the second half on a handful of occasions. Russell Westbrook expressed confusion about whose job it is to make sure Davis gets paint touches. LeBron James said the Lakers’ offense “starts with AD and getting him more touches,” while Ham insisted that he was calling plays for Davis and that the center has every right to call his own number.

“These guys are not rookies. … We have a playbook,” Ham said after a Nov. 6 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We have a menu and a bunch of sets where AD can be featured. You have to just be organized … He’s got my blessing to scream out, call his own number. We tried to get him going. … It’s not like, ‘OK, you’re just not calling plays for AD.’ That’s not the case.”

The next day, AD implored the coaching staff — this time verbally — to figure out how to increase his opportunities inside.

“If a guy says he wants more touches and he’s of the caliber of Anthony Davis, then yeah, my ears are going to perk up and I’m going to see how I can get him the ball more,” Ham said before the next game. “I’m also going to communicate with his teammates, the guys who have the ball in their hands, to look for him more.”

Encouragingly, AD’s most recent outing — a 116-103 Lakers win over the Brooklyn Nets — was among his most dominant performances since the bubble: 37 points on 19-of-25 shooting, plus 18 rebounds (a career-high 10 offensive). 23 of his 25 shot attempts came in the paint.