Lakers Receive Tantalizing Glimpse of Anthony Davis Without LeBron James
The struggling Los Angeles Lakers received a nice surprise last night as embattled superstar Anthony Davis, playing without injured LeBron James, had what could be his best regular season game ever in purple and gold.
Questionable due to a non-Covid related illness until game time, Davis finally gave the doubting Lakers’ front office and fans a tantalizing glimpse of what they could expect from him as the star in a post LeBron James NBA world.
Davis scored 37 points, shot 15–25 from the field with 23 of 25 shots in the paint, and 7 of 7 from the line. He grabbed 18 rebounds including 10 on the offensive glass, dished out 2 assists, and only turned the ball over 1 time.
Despite being sick and having back spasms, Anthony told his rookie head coach Darvin Ham and his teammates that he had their backs and went out and dominated play and inspired his teammates to join him in a big win.
While the win elevated the Lakers’ record to 3–10, it also ended the team’s second five-game losing streak this season and gave them a boost as they headed into a perfectly timed four-day offs with their next game on Friday.
Those four days off will be critical for LeBron James to allow his sore foot to recover and for Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant, both of whom may be recovered from thumb surgeries and be ready to play in Friday’s game.
Despite the intense pressure on Pelinka to make a trade quickly to save the season before the Lakers dig a hole too deep to climb out of, Rob has not at this point re-engaged any of the team’s major prospective trade partners.
While it’s obvious that a 3–10 record doesn’t meet the Lakers’ standard of a roster worthy of investing two possibly unprotected first round draft picks, Pelinka and the Lakers have not entirely ruled out making a mega trade.
Last night’s win and Anthony Davis’ great performance should give the Lakers’ front office confidence that the primary reason behind the team’s slow start was a poorly built roster lacking sufficient size and shooting.
Many of the doubts and questions about Anthony Davis’ heart or fire or willingness to do what he needs to do for the Lakers to win were answered definitively in last night’s ‘must win’ game with LeBron James unavailable.
Anthony Davis may never be the super alpha star that MJ, Kobe, and, at times, LeBron were but he also is a true unicorn in that he is a generational player who can anchor a championship caliber offense and defense.
It’s ironic that LeBron’s slow start and injury provided Anthony Davis with this two-game window where he had no choice but to take the baton from LeBron and accept the burden of leading the Lakers, becoming their alpha.
There cannot be a more difficult superstar to take the baton from than LeBron James and that’s been part of the problem Anthony Davis has had since the Lakers traded for him. How do you take the baton from LeBron?
The past two years, LeBron has actually been trying to get Anthony to exert himself and aggressively become the team’s alpha player. But injuries and struggles to win have resulted in LeBron becoming even more dominant. What we saw last night was the perfect model for Anthony Davis going forward. LeBron can’t give you the baton. You have to take it, which means playing every game with the full intention to do what you did last night.
The Lakers’ schedule for the 7 games left in November is easier than the the first 13 games of the year. The Lakers opponents are the Pistons, Spurs, Suns, Spurs, Spurs, Pacers, Blazers. Lakers should be able to go 6–1.
That would give them a 9–11 record through the end of November, solid proof this roster is not only worthy of investing two first round picks but also fully capable of becoming a legitimate championship contender.
While it’s only one game, Anthony Davis has give the Lakers a tantalizing glimpse of the player he could be without LeBron James that should restore the team’s confidence in him as the player around whom they should build.
If you enjoyed this article and want to share your ideas and comments with other Lakers fans, please join us at Lakerholics.Com.