The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled early on this season and one person who Charles Barkley feels has seemingly avoided the brunt of the blame has been is Anthony Davis.
Barkley put Davis on blast during Tuesday’s Inside the NBA, saying he simply hasn’t lived up to his potential and reputation.
“Listen, Anthony Davis, you’ve got to play better,” Barkley said while staring into the camera. “I said on this first night. If the Lakers were gonna be any good, it was all gonna be on you. It has nothing to do with Russell. Has nothing to do with LeBron, and the rest of them old ass geezers they put together out there. But now y’all have crossed the line, because I really like Frank Vogel. It ain’t his fault.
“In my opinion, I blame Anthony Davis,” Barkley continued. “Anthony Davis, you know I like you as a person, but you ain’t doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re 27 years old. You’re supposed to be in your prime. You’re supposed to be one of the five best players in the world. Up there with Giannis, Kevin Durant, and those guys. And you ain’t holding up your end of the bargain. So now I hear y’all are going to fire the head coach. That’s total B.S., man. Now I feel better.”
Davis is averaging 35.7 minutes per game, putting up 24.4 points and 10 rebounds. However, his play has been uneven at times and he’s lacked the killer instinct many of his star peers show.
Frank Vogel Says Criticism Comes With Job
Vogel has certainly been in the crosshairs with the Lakers tumbling to a 12-12 star. However, a lot has been working against him, most notably a series of injuries, limiting the upside of their rebuilt roster. LeBron James issued a light defense of Vogel this week.
“I think criticism comes with the job, you know? Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff,” James told reporters on Monday, December 6. “And we as players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor. We’re a team and an organization that doesn’t mind some adversity, that doesn’t mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory.”
Vogel agreed with that sentiment, acknowledging things are more widespread while coaching the Lakers, but nothing new.
“Not really,” Vogel said of the thesis that the pressure is more coaching the Lakers than other jobs. “There’s going to be criticism with this job. It’s something we’re all accustomed to. And I’ve been a coach for 10 years — I’ve seen it all. Is it more national? Yes, it’s more national. Is there a bigger fan base in this market in LA? Yes there is. But it’s there for every head coach and it’s something I’m not unfamiliar with. So it just comes with the job.”
Davis, Lakers Struggling Shooting the Ball
Davis has had a historically bad year shooting the ball, hitting on just 18.8% of his shots from beyond the arc. His solution? Just keep shooting.
“We’ll take the looks that we got, great looks. That’s all we do, must try to continue to take great shots, get in the paint and kick it out to the shooters and just keep shooting the ball with confidence,” Davis said. “It’ll turn from three for us when we get hot. But we just got to continue to shoot the ball with confidence and don’t get down on ourselves.”
Davis and the Lakers still have a long way to go and could prove to be the most dangerous team in the Western Conference if Davis, Westbrook and James can get on the same page and help the pieces around them thrive.