To begin the new NBA season, Anthony Davis has been far and away the Los Angeles Lakers’ best player, on both ends of the court.
Speaking on a November 22 episode of Heavy on Sports’ Postin’ Up with Keith Smith and Adam Taylor podcast, Smith shared his thoughts on why LeBron should begin taking a step back within the Lakers’ offensive hierarchy, allowing Davis to become the team’s go-to option.
“I think the Lakers if they wanna be the team they wanna be, not just this year, but over the next couple of years, LeBron has to start to ‘alright, this is AD’s team now,’ and start to take that step back. And then, he can still be LeBron when you need him to be. But, the important part will be, if you only need him to be LeBron once outta every four or five games, that’s better than him trying to be old-school LeBron, two, three, four nights out of four. That’s where I think, you’ve gotta really let him start to use AD,” Smith said.
When healthy, LeBron has still been an unstoppable force for the Lakers, averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists throughout his first ten games of the season, all while shooting 45.7% from the field.
Can Davis Sustain the Additional Workload?
The downside to sliding Davis into the leading role within the Lakers’ offensive and defensive scheme, is that you’re adding more usage to his body without knowing if he can sustain the additional mileage.
“Can AD hold up? Every time he starts to take on these massive usage roles, especially if he’s playing inside a lot, he gets hurt. It’s just what happens to him. You kind of take the good with the bad, you take these strong runs when you get them, but if you wanna be a really good team, you have to be conscious of ‘can he sustain this for more than a span of maybe a month or two at a time without suffering an injury’…The Lakers need him to be this guy,” Smith said during the November 22 podcast.
In the two seasons following the Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship, Davis has participated in 76 regular-season games and has already missed a game to begin the new season. However, if the superstar big man can remain healthy, he’s going to be the Lakers’ best player for the foreseeable future.
Davis Hurt his Arm Against Phoenix
Deep into the second quarter of the Lakers’ 105-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Davis went into the paint to attempt a dunk in traffic, but instead, took a hard fall onto the parquet, hurting his arm in the process.
Speaking to the media following the game, Davis noted how his arm began burning shortly after the fall before it went numb – an issue he was still working through after the game had ended.
“Like, it got numb, then it just start burning from like mid-bicep all the way down to my pinkie and ring finger. And then it just went numb and tingling where I couldn’t really feel anything. So, it’s really a thing where I should let the nerve calm down, well, I don’t have time to let the nerve calm down. I’ve hit my funny bone before, not to that magnitude, and it usually goes away in 30, 40 seconds, this one was a little different, can actually still feel it,” Davis said.
It’s moments like those that will have the Lakers coaching staff concerned about potentially giving Davis the keys to their offense, but given their current roster construction, and LeBron’s advancing age, they might have no other choice but to put their faith into Davis and see where it takes them.