Anthony Davis is in year 28 of his life. He is an all-time talent, with proof being his past play and his ranking as a top 75 player of all time.
Age 27, the pinnacle age of NBA players, would have suggested Davis would be smack dead in the middle of his prime years. I didn’t pull 27 out of thin air either, there is generational proof on this matter, so let me explain it.
During the 2015-16 MVP season Steph Curry was 27 years old.
In 2012 LeBron James was 27 years old. He won his first NBA championship and was at his peak athleticism.
In 2006 Kobe Bean Bryant was 27, he averaged 35.4 points per game, dropping 81 in a single game.
Tim Duncan turned 27 in game 3 of the first round in 2003 …. that was his magnum opus – beat Kobe & Shaq without another all star, won MVP & FMVP.
Shaq was 27 when he dominated the league like never seen before in 2000.
Michael Jordan was 27 years old when he won his first NBA championship.
Larry Bird was 27 when he won the first of 3 straight league MVP Awards.
Magic was 27 when he won the first of 3 MVP awards.
Literally GENERATIONS of examples of all-time greats reaching their individual peak performances.
And then there is Anthony Davis…
Last season Davis turned 27 years old, but injuries derailed any career year that could have been in the cards for the superstar. So we forgive him for that and look to his age 28 season as being the year he ascends to his peak. Except he’s remained stagnant, and dare I say regressed.
Anthony Davis on the surface is having another Davis like season. 24 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal.
Really shouldn’t be complaining right? Well wrong. When you take a deeper look into his play this season Davis
His numbers are down across the board from his last full healthy season in 2019-2020. Efficiency, free throws, 3 pointer. Oh God the 3 pointers. Throw in the inability to control games like the top 5 talent he is supposed to be, Davis has been underachieving this season and it is mind boggling.
If the Lakers weren’t playing like they’re all the making of a disappointing team of the decade, this wouldn’t be much of a conversation. But the Lakers are in dire need of peak Davis to carry them. A roster constructed of old legs, bad shooting and terrible defense means the star player needs to rise to the top. So far Davis just hasn’t been that guy.
Throw in the fact that has long been known that James had this year circled as the year Davis fully takes the keys to the franchise, and this becomes evermore disappointing thus far. And to make it all the more shocking is the way Davis has doubled up as Houdini and escaped any of the blame for the Lakers struggles this season.
Russell Westbrook has shouldered a ton of the blame early on. But then he improved, showing shades of OKC Russ in the process.
Then the blame was passed down to the lack of depth, particularly at the wing and guard spots. But THT returned and Malik Monk has been enough of a spark on occasions.
So we focused in on the abysmal big man duo of DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard, both whom shouldn’t be in anybody’s rotation in 2021.
When they were in the rotation we focused in on Frank Vogel, deservingly so. But can we blame Vogel for his star players playing like shit?
Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Ty Lue, Erik Spoelstra, whatever legendary coach you want to name can’t come in and suddenly fix a star player under performing, let alone 3. At some point great players need to be great. The Lakers have 3 of them, if they underperform, you can’t point fingers elsewhere. It begins and ends with them.
If the Lakers are going to right the ship, it will be become Davis finds his footing. The days of relying on James to fix everything are likely in the past. Westbrook has never been a problem solver, simply a cluster of chaos.
Frank Vogel is a very good coach but he doesn’t make jump shots nor protect the rim.
Only Davis can do that.
The Lakers season is directly correlated to the ascension of Anthony Davis. The talk will be Vogel, Westbrook turnovers, LeBron’s age, etc. But the only thing that truly matters is Davis. The Lakers will go as he goes, and right now he is average and so are the Lakers.