Before it became fashionable to call skilled big men “unicorns”, before Giannis was unofficially crowned as the best player in the league by the masses, and before everyone became enamored with Victor Wembanyama – Anthony Davis was him.
Since being drafted first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012, Davis has consistently improved each year, emerging as one of the league’s top players. However, as injuries have remained a consistent part of Davis’ NBA journey, NBA fans and analysts alike grew weary of his potential. And with so many shiny new toys popping up – it was easy to truly forget the sensational talent that Davis truly is.
Joel Embiid has a better post game, Giannis is a better defender and athlete, Tatum is a better shooter, and Jokic is unquestionably a superior passer. But none of those players quite have the mesh of abilities that makes the Brow the unique force that he is on both ends of the floor.
One measure of a player’s effectiveness is their Player Efficiency Rating (PER), which takes into account a variety of statistics to evaluate a player’s overall performance. Over the course of his career, Davis’ PER has consistently been among the league’s leaders, reaching a career-high of 32.3 so far this season (currently leading the league). His current career PER is also fourth in league history, one slot behind teammate LeBron James.
In addition to his impressive PER, Davis has also recorded impressive numbers in terms of Win Shares (WS), which measure the number of wins a player contributes to their team. In the 2017-2018 season, Davis recorded a WS of 12.9, which ranked him fifth in the league. This was a significant increase from his previous seasons, where he recorded WS of 8.8 and 9.5 in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons, respectively.
Defensive efficiency is another important measure of a player’s performance, and Davis has consistently been one of the best defenders in the league. Since entering the league, Anthony Davis has been in the top 5 in Defensive Win Shares(including this season thus far), this is a testament to Davis’ ability to not only score points, but also to impact the game on the defensive end.
Since being acquired by the L.A. Lakers, and particularly since their 2020 championship run, there has been much hand-wringing about Davis’ durability, and ability to continue to be an impactful player for the Lakers. Despite these concerns, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have formed a formidable partnership on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers, this is in spite of the decline of their teammate Russell Westbrook.
James, a four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, has been a dominant force in the league for over a decade. His size, strength, and athleticism make him a threat in both the paint and on the perimeter. He is a versatile player who can score, rebound, and distribute the ball with ease.
Davis, meanwhile, is one of the best big men in the league. At 6’10” and with a wingspan of 7’5″, he has the ability to dominate the paint on both ends of the court. He is a great rim protector and can also stretch the floor with his shooting ability.
Together, James and Davis have formed a potent combination that has been tough for opponents to stop. They have led the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference and have put the team in position to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Despite Westbrook’s aforementioned decline and the Lakers’ well-documented shooting woes, James and Davis have been able to step up and carry the team. Westbrook, a former MVP, has seen his production and efficiency drop in recent years. He is no longer the dominant force he once was, and the Lakers have had to adjust their game plan accordingly.
But with James and Davis leading the way, the Lakers have been able to overcome Westbrook’s decline and continue to compete at a high level. They have shown that they can be successful even without Westbrook playing at his best, thanks to their exceptional individual talent and their strong chemistry on the court.
In conclusion, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have proven to be a formidable duo for the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite the premature calls to ship AD out for a younger player, they have continued to thrive and lead the team to success. With their dominant play on both ends of the court, they have shown that they are capable of carrying the Lakers to great heights.