Heads were turned recently when a number of analysts started discussing a possible Anthony Davis for Damian Lillard swap. If that trade went down, it would be one of the biggest superstar swaps in NBA history. There have been rumblings that Lillard is growing frustrated with the Portland Trail Blazers, though he has not requested a trade yet.
Davis won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers just a year ago but spent much of this season injured. Considering LeBron James‘ career shouldn’t have many years left, the Lakers could consider trying to pair him with a more durable star like Lillard. However, NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Miller doesn’t believe that is a good idea.
“Absolutely not,” Miller said of a prospective Davis for Lillard trade on the Dan Patrick Show. “As much as I love Damian Lillard, Lillard has to have the ball in his hands to be successful. It’s what’s made him great. A great isolation, one-on-one, high pick-and-roll player. For LeBron [James], what he’s done throughout his career, needs the ball to be successful. I don’t think they would play well off of one another. I just don’t. And I think that’s why Anthony Davis is a perfect complement, if he can stay healthy, to LeBron.”
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Lillard & LeBron Could Make It Work
There is merit to what Miller is saying. Lillard and LeBron aren’t a seamless fit. That said, the two are all about winning so they’d make it work. Lillard is an excellent shooter and LeBron has always played better with elite shooters. If he can win a championship with Kyrie Irving on his team, he can certainly do it with Lillard.
The two men also get along well and have played on the All-Star together each of the past three years. Consider they are both ball-dominant players, it would take some work to get the fit right but LeBron has shown willingness to adjust his style of play in the past.
Lakers Can’t Trade Davis Yet
If the Lakers can figure out how to trade for Lillard without giving up Davis, they should do it in a heartbeat. However, giving up on the big man after one lackluster year would be a mistake. When healthy, Davis is a better player than Lillard. He’s a significantly better defender and much more versatile.
Obviously, Lillard is a superior scorer and shooter but those are the only aspects of the game that he’s better at than Davis. Also, Davis is a better fit with LeBron. Many are ready to write the Lakers off but we’re less than a year removed from the team winning a championship. During that championship run, Davis was arguably one of the five best players in the entire NBA. As great as Lillard is, he’s most likely in the five to 10 range of best players. Davis’ ceiling is much higher and he’s already proven that to the Lakers. They have to give him another season before they’d even consider trading him.