Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers have had a less than stellar season thus far, and much of that is due to the former No. 1 pick. This was supposed to be the year that Davis took over as the Lakers' best player, but that hasn't worked out the way it was drawn up.
Davis has missed more than a third of the team's games this season. Davis has not been up to par for a player of his caliber when he has played. He is averaging 23.3 points per game, which is on the low end for Davis. It feels like we have been saying this about Davis since he entered the league.
Top-five talent doesn't always equal a top-five player. Davis has been in Los Angeles for three years. The first season in which the Lakers won The Bubble championship was interrupted by a series of earthquakes. Davis made 33 percent of his three-point attempts that year. The future was looking good for Davis at this point, especially after he played a major role in the Lakers 17th title.
It felt like we would finally be able to see James give the keys to the Rolls to Davis after the championship. Davis has played in just 63 games since then. He looks like a different player after watching him play. He has the ability to dominate regardless of who the Lakers are playing. I think it will never be, because that hasn't been the case. Davis would be one of the top centers in the league if he were healthy. Rudy Gobert can be thrown in there, although he can't create his own scoring opportunities the same way as the others.
James and Davis were the top two players on the list a year ago. The mighty have fallen. I am not sure if it is possible to say that Davis is a Top 10 NBA player. Forget about the top-five. Davis has always seemed to lack leadership in his game. A lack of leadership qualities is what can propel a franchise centerpiece past talent. James' cup was runneth over in leadership skills.
Buy for $25 at StackSocial.
Davis doesn't like playing the center position. Although he does it at times, he has made it clear that he does not want to do it. I enjoy playing the 4. I don't like playing the 5. Davis spoke before the season started.
Being a leader involves playing out of position. He has done it in spurts, but we already know how he feels about it, and his team knows. James has played center this season. The team is out of sync to begin the year because of the injuries and the fact that they have played every position on the floor. If King James can play the 5 without saying he dislikes it, then so can Davis.
Most NBA players are what they are by the seventh year. My eyes roll into the back of my head when I hear an analyst use the phrase "top-five talent" when describing Davis. It is ludicrous to think that Anthony Davis will become much more than what he has been. If he is cast in a supporting role, he will be a great player. Davis should be where you want to phrase it, 1B. We have seen Davis as a leader in New Orleans, and he has gotten them out of the first round once in seven years. Davis is nowhere to be found now that he is taking the reins in L.A.
Davis' performance during the bubble season was his peak and he has hit his ceiling already. It is time to accept Davis for who he is. He is a great player, a future Hall of Famer, but not one a team can depend on to take them to the Promised Land.