I believe by now we should have an accurate assessment of Anthony Davis at the NBA level. I personally thought he was all empty stats in his tenure with New Orleans Hornets turned New Orleans Pelicans even if he was going off for 28+ points practically every night in his time there; showing us an arsenal from a big man we hadn’t seen since Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki’s prime years in the 2000’s. To me he never really reached the heights of a Dirk or Garnett since he never even made a Conference Finals appearance through his time in New Orleans but I can’t take away from his impact on the Lakers winning the championship in The Bubble and hit elite play on both ends of the floor that season. Fast forward to this season and he was playing at a level early on this season which was just Wilt Chamberlain like stuff, it literally felt like I was watching the best big man in NBA history and to no surprise he got hurt and has returned now with the Lakers needed him more than ever to keep them afloat as they await the return of LeBron James who at best comes back with 5-6 games left in the season, a time where LeBron returning could very possibly not matter anymore considering the teams they will be facing through the last stretch of the season.
I still believe LeBron is able to win at least 1 more title before his career concludes but for it to be in this season? I’m just not buying it, it’s just way too much to ask of someone who’s coming off a lower body injury in a sport where your legs are practically everything; and LeBron is no longer the superhuman he once was. No one in the history of mankind has been able to withstand age and asking him to come back and play elite on both ends of the floor,make it through possibly 4 rounds of competitive basketball and have to face Giannis,Embiid,or Tatum in the Finals? Yea sorry not buying it, back to Anthony Davis who as I mentioned could be playing out his last season as a Laker if he is not able to keep the Lakers afloat. The championship run was great, I enjoyed watching Davis clamp down on the Heat in that close out Game 6 in the 2020 NBA Finals,his jab step 3 which took the soul from the Nuggets,also his game winning 3 against the Heat in the Finals early on but it’s time to go if he can’t get the Lakers through this crucial stretch they will be facing over the next week.
Most would say I am a blatant LeBron supporter but I just look at all this from a business stand point; and if the Lakers had to choose between LeBron James or Anthony Davis I think they’ll angle to keep LeBron since his name sells more and I’d imagine Rob and Jeanie’s main objective is to have LeBron retire as a Laker. It’s something I once considered unlikely but I can’t wrap my mind around LeBron looking to stir up even more hate in the hearts of those who despise him for being someone who’s always looking to jump on the next big wave. Why would the Lakers sell the Laker faithful on a now turned 30-year old Anthony Davis who they can’t even rely on to play 50 games in a season? And did I mention he’s going to be making well over $40 million from now until when he’s eligible to finally exit out of Los Angeles? I’ve seen enough, he arguably cost the Lakers a championship the 2021 season where the Lakers could’ve gone back to back but he injured himself and that just forced LeBron to have to step up to a level his body wasn’t ready for as he was coming off a injury not too long before the playoffs began.
I’m not buying into another year of the LeBron James/Anthony Davis saga. Even if the Lakers re-sign D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura this off-season the Lakers winning a championship next season will be far fetched, possible but I’d give it lower than a 50% chance of it actually becoming reality considering the competition they’ll be facing next season. Sure this team would be well capable of winning ball games without LeBron and Davis on the floor assuming they’ll be load managing for a good portion of next season but where will that land you? 5th-6th in the West with no home-court advantage? I’d much rather take a jab at getting Kyrie Irving and LeBron James together on the court one last time and see what that could materialize into next season. We saw them do the unthinkable in the 2016 NBA Finals leading the Cavaliers on a comeback of a lifetime. Sometimes you have to accept certain things for what they are, we want to masquerade Davis into living up to something he’ll likely never reach. The LeBron-Davis era was short-lived and one which will be left with several what ifs if it concludes this summer, but the LeBron-Kyrie era is one which deserves revisiting.