When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Anthony Davis, everybody was under the impression he was the future of the franchise.
However, after three years of injuries, apathetic performances, and two underachieving seasons, Davis’ stock has started to tumble, meaning he’s no longer viewed as an unstoppable force in the NBA.
Sure, when he’s healthy and switched on, Davis is still among the best big men in the world, but those moments are becoming too few and far between for his status as one of the NBA’s premier talents to remain intact.
Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, who has recently started his own newsletter, compounded those concerns about Davis during his latest NBA player rankings, with the Lakers star struggling to remain in the top 20.
“This is a huge season for Anthony Davis. Over the eight seasons leading up to his championship, he had a 6.3 box plus/minus…Since then, he’s at 4.3, and he’s only played 76 games. He’s only 29, so a return to his previous, defensively dominant form should be possible,” Bailey wrote.
Davis participated in just 40 games last season, and while his averages of 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game were impressive, his lack of consistency and availability has seen the Lakers look increasingly frail – which is not what they intended when they traded away the farm to acquire him in 2019.
So, Bailey’s message is clear – improve, or continue to see your stock tumble around the league.
Davis Continues to Leave Fans Feeling Uneasy
Earlier this summer Davis sent shockwaves throughout the Lakers fanbase, as he appeared on an episode of esports ‘Nuke Squad’s’ YouTube Vlog and revealed he hadn’t touched a basketball since April 5, which also happened to be the last day of the 2021-22 NBA season – the video aired on June 12.
“I haven’t shot a basketball since April, like maybe, April 5th,” Davis said during the Vlog.
Given the Lakers’ poor end to last season, Davis’ admission isn’t likely to have gone down well with his teammates nor the fan base, and we can only hope that he has since been putting in the work to get his body prepared for the rigors of the upcoming season.
Lakers Could Look to Trade Davis
Given how Davis’ future trajectory no longer projects him to be a leading star on a contending team, the Lakers could decide to cut ties with the big man, as they look to continue building a championship contender that can stand the test of time.
Sure, when healthy, Davis is unquestionably one of the best players in the league, but his lack of health has got to be concerning for the Lakers front office – especially after they just inked LeBron James to a two-year contract extension.
According to a Western Conference executive, who spoke to Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity, the Lakers will have multiple options should they choose to move on from Davis, with the Phoenix Suns a potential trade partner in waiting.
“Phoenix would be an interesting fit too, once Ayton can be traded. They could do Cam Johnson and Ayton, something like that. I am sure some in L.A. would expect a big return for Davis but with the injuries the last few years, it would be tough to trade him. There’s a lot of reasons why they’d keep him but that is one – you’re not going to get fair value because of the injuries,” The executive told Sean Deveney.
While the notion of trading Davis might still seem far-fetched, another injury-hit season or underperforming year could very well tempt the Lakers into making a deal, and for that exact reason, this could be the most important season of Davis’ career to date.