Is It Time To Admit LeBron Made A Mistake Betting On Anthony Davis? Yes And No …

(Photo: Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers are 16-16 and in the seventh spot in the Western Conference, just inside the playoffs. Yes, they’ve dealt with injuries to LeBron James and other key players, and will now be without big man Anthony Davis for at least four weeks. This latest injury has many people wondering if LeBron made the wrong bet tying his future to the oft-injured Davis.

Right off the bat, the answer is no.

Why? Because the Lakers already won a championship.

The 2020 title run was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Davis was incredible. He averaged 27 points and nine rebounds per game in the playoffs on 57/38/83 shooting splits. He had an eFG% of 60 and a TS% of 66.

That’s elite production.

Winning an NBA championship is a 1-30 lottery, in other words, it’s a crapshoot. Fans have this belief, often after the fact, that the champ was preordained and we knew it all along.

In the first year of the Kevin Durant Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs had the Dubs down 25 points in Game 1 of the conference finals. Then Kawhi Leonard gets injured in the third quarter, misses the remainder of the series and the rest is history.

Those same Warriors, a year later, are down 3-2 to the Houston Rockets in the conference finals. Chris Paul gets injured and the Rockets miss 27 straight threes.

Yes you have to be an excellent team to win championships, but you need a little luck too. The talent level is too good in this league.

Bringing us back to the Lakers and Davis, 32 games into the season, this is not what Bron or anybody associated with the Lakers had in mind.

When Bron chose the Lakers in free agency back in 2018, he wanted to win more titles with the NBA’s most storied franchise. In 2019 he traded away all the Lakers’ young players and picks to hitch his wagon to Anthony Davis. The assumption being a 26-year-old three time All-NBA, three-time All-NBA defense, and three-time league blocks champion would extend his prime.

Everyone could see it, and again it worked. The Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship.

But going forward, is Davis someone Bron can rely on to help him win more titles? So far that answer has been no.

Now to be fair, trying to repeat last season with the shortest off season in league history was going to be almost impossible. We’ll give Davis a pass there. But his overall effectiveness on wins has been trending down.

That’s due in large part to his inability to stay on the floor. In his 10 NBA seasons, Davis has played in more than 70 games twice.

His offensive estimated plus-minus was a career high +4.7 in the 2018-2019 season. It dropped to +3.2 in his first season in Los Angeles, was +1.7 last year and is the same so far this season.

Davis’ defensive estimated plus-minus peaked at +3.9 in 2018. In the four years that followed: +2.2, +2.6, +1.7, +1.0. The last four years are his age 25, 26, 27, and this year 28 seasons respectively. These are his prime years.

‘You’re 27 And Supposed To Be In Your Prime!’| Charles Barkley Says The Lakers’ Problem Is Anthony Davis

You could see why LeBron was so eager to partner with Davis. This was going to be the elite two-way big that would eventually become the team’s No. 1. Outside of the bubble playoffs we have not seen that.

FS1’s talking head Nick Wright, and noted LeBron stan, believes that Davis is the Lakers’ problem this year and why they won’t win a title. He needs to be as good as Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid and isn’t.

No matter what stats you look at, Davis has not been consistently in the same class as Jokic and Embiid, the other two elite big men he’s often compared to.

“I Haven’t Heard Your Name Mentioned All Year … Step Up” | Shaq Keeps It Real On Anthony Davis And The Lakers

Davis is also not a primary ball handler so you can’t really compare him to Giannis Antetokounmpo. But that’s another elite big that Davis hasn’t been able to consistently compete with.

Maybe Davis is injury-prone and this is just what it will be for the rest of his career. Moments of brilliance and dominance, but not enough sustained excellence.

To win more titles, that’s what LeBron will need. If he doesn’t get it, at least they won one.


More news from our partners:

“It’s Inevitable”| We Are Seeing The Last Days Of Russell Wilson In Seattle

‘It’s a History…That Supersedes What Can Be Written’: National Quilting Project Memorializes Black Lives Lost to Racial Violence

‘Racism Is Not Allowed Here’: Ray J Blasts Racist Person at His Company