Coming off a championship run where he played excellently, Anthony Davis was expected to have a massive follow-up year. Instead of putting up an MVP season, he arguably had his worst season since his rookie year. He battled injuries all season and only averaged 21.8 points a game. The Los Angeles Lakers got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns in large part due to Davis suffering a groin injury in Game 4.
It was a surprisingly lackluster season for one of the NBA’s best players. Opinions on Davis have varied since last season ended but there are those who believe that he’s in for a massive year. Lakers guard Rajon Rondo has the highest expectations for the big man possible.
“My expectation for him this year is MVP,” Rondo told The Athletic’s Bill Oram. “Nothing less than MVP and a championship, and he’s a guy that can do it.”
Rondo has seen firsthand what Davis can do when he’s at the top of his game. Former player Kendrick Perkins also predicted an MVP year for Davis recently. He certainly has the talent to make it happen but his season will come down to whether or not he can stay healthy for 82 games.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Rondo Talks Davis’ Chemistry With Russell Westbrook
The Lakers’ biggest addition this offseason was trading for former MVP Russell Westbrook. His addition could seriously help or hurt Davis’ game. Westbrook is an elite distributor but he’s never had the opportunity to play a lot of games with a superstar big man. How those two play together could make or break the season. Rondo believes that Davis and Westbrook will figure things out.
“I think their chemistry will be fine,” Rondo told The Athletic. “Russ and Dennis are different type of guards, different style of guards, and with the type of talent we have around us this year, we all have to sacrifice. A.D. might not have the amount of touches that he wants even though he’s our No.1 option offensively. But at the same time we … have so many weapons from one through at least 12 (who) are pretty good offensive players.”
The Lakers have a lot of mouths to feed but Davis is the biggest of them all. They need to get him going early and often. He’s an unstoppable force when he gets hot so Westbrook needs to ensure that happens in most games.
How Season Plays out Is up to Davis
LeBron James is still an elite player and Westbrook will be an All-Star. However, this Lakers team isn’t winning a championship unless Davis returns to form. Rondo made that very clear.
“We go as he goes,” Rondo said. “Hopefully everyone stays healthy. And if that’s the case, we’ll be tough to beat four times before we beat you four times.”
Davis is the team’s best defensive player and should be the top-scoring option on offense. With LeBron turning 37 in December, the Lakers can’t rely on him as much as they used to. It’s for Davis to take over the team and become the face of the franchise.