Basketball Hall of Famer Chris Webber was a guest on the “Colin Cowherd Podcast” this week. They touched on a number of subjects, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ poor season and Anthony Davis. Webber sees Davis as an incredible talent, but not someone who can be the “alpha” or lead a team to the championship.
“I never felt that way with AD, that he just needed help,” Webber told Colin Cowherd. “I felt that he could be that missing piece for someone else. I don’t know when he’s proven that. He’s a wonderful talent and he hit some big shots for LeBron. I get that. But we’re talking about him being the alpha and I don’t know when that’s worked. I’m not as high on him, injury or not.”
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) April 14, 2022
News flash, Mr. Webber. It’s hard to win an NBA championship. Nobody does it alone. You need help.
Webber’s talking points from this clip, and admittedly we haven’t listened to the entire interview, sound like someone who is maybe a little jealous. Perhaps Webber still feels the sting of never having won an NBA championship.
That’s what happens when we use championships to define a player’s worth.
Think about it. We use a team award to celebrate or denigrate an individual. A team award that has 1-30 odds.
Anthony Davis had a poor and injury- riddled season. There is no denying that. If the Lakers are to be better next year, he is going to have to be healthy and play up to the level he’s capable.
Prior to his 2020 title with the Lakers, he played for the New Orleans Pelicans for seven seasons, advancing to the playoffs twice and making it past the first round once.
Those seven seasons are what Weber is referring to when he says he never felt like “AD just needed help.” Seems to me that if he had help, the team’s postseason performances would’ve been better.
He made three All-NBA first teams, three All-Defensive teams, and led the league in blocks three times while in New Orleans. He was a very good player during that stint, but the team around him wasn’t constructed well. So the team success wasn’t there.
Webber and players of his generation often come away from conversations like these looking bitter, even if some of what they say has merit.
There is a belief among many players of Weber’s era and prior that today’s players have it easier as it relates to winning championships. That’s simply not true. On the surface it appears that way, but all you have to do is pay attention a little closer and you see the fault in that premise.
Yes it is true that the top players have more agency and can control where they want to go and exert influence on roster and personnel decisions in ways the previous generations couldn’t. But this is still a salary cap league. You can’t just sign 15 max players.
Superstar players are a necessary ingredient to win; everyone knows that. But they aren’t the only ingredient. You need the rest of the roster to do all the other things necessary to win, and you need luck.
Who knows if Davis can “lead” a team to a title or be the “alpha.” Maybe we’ll find out in the years to come. Regardless, reducing players to ring counts and discussing basketball in this way is simplistic and archaic.