During his final media availability of the season, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis opened up about his future with LeBron James.
Davis, who has the same agent as LeBron, still believes he and LBJ can be the core of a title team moving forward.
“I think us two can. We’ve shown that we can,” Davis told Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “I don’t know that’s something we just have to reevaluate in the offseason, upstairs, me and him talking about this season and what we would like to see next season and kind of just figure it out.
“… [We will] come together as a group … to get back to championship mentality that we had our first year. So that would be a very interesting conversation just from the standpoint of what changed. I mean, injuries, but even when we were healthy, I don’t think we were able to reach our full potential — for whatever reason. So I think we want to figure it out and just get back to that championship pedigree that us as players know we’re capable of.”
The Lakers won the 2020 championship in Davis’ first season with the team. Since then, they have lost in the first round of the playoffs and missed the postseason altogether.
Davis and LeBron haven’t been able to stay healthy over the past two seasons. The Lakers’ acquisition of Russell Westbrook was supposed to help the franchise compete for a title this season, but injuries and Westbrook’s lack of shooting skills doomed the purple and gold.
Davis Talks Injuries & Westbrook
Davis appeared in only 40 games this season. The Chicago native sprained his MCL in his left knee in December against the Minnesota Timberwolves and missed 17 games and sustained a right mid-foot sprain in February versus the Utah Jazz, costing him another 18 games.
LeBron, Davis and Westbrook only appeared in 21 games together as a trio. The Lakers were 11-10 when their three stars played.
“To not log enough minutes together is what hurt us,” Davis told McMenamin. “I still think us being on the floor together where [there is only] two out of three can win basketball games; it just didn’t happen.”
Westbrook committed 295 turnovers in 78 games and shot only 29.8% from beyond the arc. He was crucified by Lakers fans and reporters all season, but Davis believes Westbrook shouldered too much of the blame.
“Russ isn’t a one-man show,” Davis told McMenamin. “He can’t beat teams by himself. It’s all of us. It’s my play, me not being on the floor. Bron’s play, him not being on the floor. … Everybody. Coaches. Everybody’s a part of the blame. … Russ, it wasn’t his fault. … When I got here, I didn’t play the same way I played with Bron. Bron had to change; everybody had to change. Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for [Westbrook] to adjust to that.”
Most NBA insiders believe the Lakers will look to trade Westbrook this summer. If that happens, LeBron and Davis will need a new point guard.
Who Would Be a Good Fit Next to LeBron & Davis?
If the Lakers trade Westbrook, their next point guard has to be someone who can shoot and doesn’t turn the ball over so much. Some possible options are Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Goran Dragic and Kemba Walker.
It doesn’t matter who the Lakers’ point guard is, though, if Davis and LeBron can’t stay healthy. The two superstars have been bitten by the injury bug since winning the 2020 championship and it’s one of the main reasons why the Lakers haven’t returned to the promised land.
It will be captivating to see what the Lakers do with Westbrook this offseason. LeBron and Davis should be back in LA next season barring a shocking trade and the two champions will presumably be motivated to quiet their critics and win another title.