Anthony Davis is proving the Lakers are his team now

More and more evidence is pointing to the fact that this team now belongs to AD.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

The offseason is here for the Los Angeles Lakers, and big changes have already been made. On Friday, it was announced that the organization had let go of not just former Head Coach Darvin Ham, but also his entire coaching staff. Clearly, management believes a massive shift is needed if this team is to replicate the magic from their 2023 Western Conference Finals run.

Outside of the coaches, another perhaps more subtle change could come from within the locker room. Since LeBron James moved to Southern California nearly six years ago, it has been adundantly clear that the Lakers were his team. When he arrived, he was still one of the best players in the world and was absolutely going to be the driving force behind everything LA did.

But now, as LeBron approaches his 40th birthday, it is clear that he is no longer the player he was in 2018. Yes, he is still performing at an All-Star level, and that deserves to be recognized. However, he cannot reasonably be called the best player in the world anymore, as a younger generation of superstars moves in to take the torch from him.

So with LeBron's (albeit slow) decline, at what point does building around a player of his age become unwise? It seems unlikely the Lakers will win another championship with him as the best player, and that leaves them two options. Bring in another star, or, the far easier option: empower your other star to take over as the top dog.

Anthony Davis was the Lakers' best player this season

In fact, it seems that the latter option has already been taking place organically. LeBron and Anthony Davis were of course the two best players on the Lakers' roster this past season, but Davis proved he is currently the better player with his playoff performance. As of May 6, his five-game performance against the Denver Nuggets in round one remains the most efficient offensive output of any player in the playoffs this season.

Davis averaged 27.6 points and put up a league-leading 1.21 points per possession while on the floor for the Lakers in the playoffs. That is staggering efficiency, and he did it all while anchoring LA's defense and battling on the interior against the best player in the world as well. The Lakers were far from a perfect defensive team this season, but there is little doubt they would have struggled tremendously more on that end if not for AD.

There are also hints coming from inside the organization that the Lakers are preparing to hand the keys to the franchise to Davis as well. Speaking about the Lakers' ongoing coaching search, ESPN's Dave McMenamin had this to say. "Of course LeBron James' opinion will be taken into consideration," he said. "But not just LeBron. Anthony Davis as well, I'm told ... The team looks as Anthony Davis is finally taking the torch from LeBron in the last season and a half."

All of this makes an abundance of sense when the Lakers' situation is weighed alongside the situations of their two stars. No matter how good LeBron is, he can not play basketball forever. Putting him in situations where he can still thrive and play his game while allowing Anthony Davis to take the reigns and lead this franchise going forward is the best chance the Lakers will have of winning a second championship under their tutelage.