Anthony Davis: The Lakers Next Franchise Player?


The MVP award seems like a two-horse race between Stephen Curry and James Harden. Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are in the conversation, but probably too far from the lead. Yet statistically, the player having a historic season in terms of PER is Anthony Davis (31.14) who is in reach of Wilt Chamberlin’s best ever 31.82 rating. But what does this have to do with the Lakers? Glad you asked…

This summer will be crucial in terms of the Lakers rebuild, but most of the action will be done via the draft. Top free agents such as Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jimmy Butler will most likely re-sign with their current teams and although the Lakers will have a shot at Kevin Love, Greg Monroe and Rajon Rondo they aren’t “game-changers” in terms of overall impact. 2016 is the offseason where stars such as Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and James intend to make a killing with the new TV deals in place, but the star of the class will be Anthony Davis.

There’s little doubt Davis will reject his qualifying offer from the New Orleans Pelicans for the 2016-17 season making him a free agent that summer. Factor in Davis’ aura off-the-court, nicknamed “The Brow,” his 7-foot stature is simply too big and too bright for the city of New Orleans. Davis is the type of player that needs to be in a major city to enhance his brand beyond basketball. There’s talk of Westbook or Durant, possibly joined with Love as the foundation for the Lakers to build upon starting in 2016, but Davis will be by far the best piece to improve with for the next 10 years.

The moves New Orleans has made since drafting Davis aren’t exactly stellar. First, they drafted Austin Rivers (whom still should be at Duke). Then they matched Eric Gordon’s absurd offer from Phoenix (4 years/$58 million). Next, they traded their two first-round draft picks to Philly (one of which was Nerlens Noel) for Jrue Holiday followed by acquiring Tyreke Evans (4 years/$44 million) for Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez. Lastly, they traded another first-round pick for Omer Asik because Lopez was traded. It’s impressive that the Pelicans are hovering around playoff contention, but with limited financial flexibility and an average roster going forward Davis is essentially stuck with this talent for the next couple of years. If your franchise player is Davis, you have to surround him with a strong supporting cast or he’ll consider leaving for greener pastures. The Pelicans have failed to do that so therefore they risk Davis leaving in free agency for a better chance to win a championship.

The Lakers have always won multiple championships with big men and there’s no reason to believe with Davis things wouldn’t be the same. It would be great to have Westbrook and Love come “home”, but putting pieces around Davis, who will only be 23 years old at the time, is the move the Lakers should go “all in” for.

Dr. Jerry Buss built his legacy around superstars, yet ironically it’s the same reason why the Lakers are currently struggling. With max contracts being handed out left and right, it comes down to the “value” a player offers a franchise. Davis is an unselfish superstar, whose potential ceiling is unlimited and the Lakers would be the perfect team for him to solidify his legacy as an all-time great in the NBA by winning titles. The two sides need each other, so let’s make it happen in 2016!

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