The main goal for the Los Angeles Lakers every season is to win the NBA Championship and thus far they are one for two with the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This year, however, is not going as planned and is showcasing just how small championship windows can be.
The window is still open for the Lakers because it is always going to be open with LeBron James, but it is shrinking. LeBron is only getting older and he cannot play forever. At some point, the LeBron-AD window will be closed and the Lakers will have to pivot to something else.
Luckily, the team seemed to have the perfect plan; have Anthony Davis contend for championships alongside LeBron and once LeBron is no longer the same guy they can bring in another superstar to be AD’s new running mate. In theory, Davis could have two separate championship windows, similar to Kobe’s experience with the team.
At 28 years old, Davis should have another 6-7 years as a top player in this league which gives the Lakers another 3-4 year window with another superstar… if they could land one of course. It all hinges on Anthony Davis being the future franchise star for the Los Angeles Lakers, which quite frankly, might not be as surefire of a thing as it seemed to be 14 months ago.
Is Anthony Davis really capable of being the future of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Fourteen months ago the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Miami Heat to win the 2020 NBA Championship. While LeBron was named Finals MVP, Davis was the one who thrived for most of the playoffs, putting together historic postseason numbers while also hitting the biggest shot of his career in the Western Conference Finals.
At that time the plan to have him be the future of the team seemed like the perfect plan. However, since then, a lot has happened and it has become much easier to question whether or not this is a safe plan.
Davis injured his knee on Friday night in what is another added injury to the long list of injuries that he has suffered in his career. While this one does not appear to be too serious, it did serve as a reminder that Davis might just be the most injury-prone superstar in the league.
Heck, that is the entire reason why the Lakers did not make it out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs last year. Davis missed exactly half of the 2020-21 season with an Achilles/calf injury, which he aggravated in Game 4 against the Phoenix Snus last year. The Lakers were clearly the better team with AD on the court and the second that he got hurt the entire series flipped.
Sure, Davis went an entire season without a serious injury in his first year with the Lakers but he also received a five-month break in the middle because of the covid-19 pandemic. That absolutely helped keep him fresh and who knows if he could have been as sharp in the NBA bubble if he didn’t get that rest.
Quite frankly, Davis has not proven once in his career that he can handle both a full regular-season and postseason.
Not only are the injuries a concern, but can we really trust AD to be the face of the team? While he box score numbers are undoubtedly impressive and he played historically well in the 2020 Playoffs next to LeBron James, what has he done as the guy on a team?
Many people consider Davis to be a top 10 player in the league, yet he only won one playoff series with the Pelicans during his tenure. Sure, the Pelicans did not surround him with the best talent all the time but to win one playoff series in seven years (only making it twice) is concerning. Nobody is saying that he should have won the title in New Orleans, but the true greats at least win some playoff series.
Davis has also played worse when LeBron does not play on the Lakers. LeBron missed a big chunk of time this season with an abdominal injury and in that chunk, Davis played poorly. While the Russell Westbrook trade is part of the reason why, it still does not excuse Davis for playing as bad as he has.
Simply put, I think the answer to the question is no, we cannot trust Anthony Davis to be the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. Can he be? Absolutely, but he needs to prove a lot more before we buy in on him being the guy that bridges the gap to the next title window.