Lakers’ Anthony Davis To Miss About A Month With Latest Injury; Have We Already Seen The Best Of AD?

Anthony Davis hurt again
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis is due to miss multiple weeks with a right foot injury. Prior to the injury AD had been playing dominant basketball on both ends and making a case for the best player in the world. Now another injury has set him back. Have we already seen the best of AD at 29?

Is Anthony Davis A Hall of Famer?

If he never dribbles a ball in the NBA again, AD is a first ballot of Hall of Famer. He’s an NBA champion, eight-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, four-time All-Defense, and he’s led the league in blocks three times.

But in his 11 NBA seasons he’s only played in 70 or more games twice. He is often injured, and some media members and fans have used that fact to talk about AD in a derisive manner.

Has AD been often injured? Yes. Is that somehow a character flaw? No. But sports is an archaic industry insofar as the people that have the loudest voices belong in the Paleolithic era.

A lot of macho, “back in my day” and talk about “toughness.”

Modern basketball has evolved from the sport it was in the 1980s. The idea that players back then are “tougher” than players now is silly.

Go watch a game from the glory days of the 1980s and ’90s and look at how the game is played. Everything is congested and locked inside the three-point line. It’s pretty easy to play defense inside a phone booth.

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Back then you couldn’t imagine a player with AD’s size and skill. Now the league is filled with seven-footers who can shoot threes, attack off the bounce, and destroy defenders from any spot on the floor.

When you’ve got to protect the rim and race out to cover the corner three, that puts a lot of wear and tear on your body.

The NBA Has Changed

Everything about the game has changed except for the amount of games played. We still have an absurdly long 82-game season and way too many back-to-backs and three-games-in-five-nights.

Not to mention players are coming into the league with a lot of miles on their bodies as young as 18 and 19.

Prior to the game where AD got hurt he played 46 minutes in an overtime loss to the Boston Celtics, and 36 minutes in the game prior.

Minutes are a cumulative thing that stress the body. Given AD’s history the Lakers need to implore a better plan if they want him healthy come the postseason. If they even make it.

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said AD’s health is the most important.

“The first priority is to take care of his health,” Ham said. “To hell with what people have to say. … We have a phenomenal medical staff of really, really brilliant people within the organization who make sure he has the best possible care, and once we find out what’s going on, we’ll act accordingly.
“The season is fairly early, and he just has to take care of his business starting with, first and foremost, getting back healthy.”

Do the Lakers have a phenomenal medical staff?

Lakers governor Jeanie Buss is not a billionaire like many of her counterparts and the team has been known to not spend as much in the areas of performance staff, medical and sports science.

There is no shortage of brilliant minds in those fields that would love to work for the Lakers and design programs that would allow AD and the rest of the players to thrive.

That would require buy in all across the organization from ownership down to coach and players.

We can’t say for sure if we’ve seen the best of AD. But if something doesn’t change with how his workload and injury history are managed, it’s a good possibility that we have seen his best, and that’s a shame.