The Los Angeles Lakers have had an up and down season yet again and are heading to their third play-in tournament in four years.

The Lakers have been wildly inconsistent–from the coaching staff to the role players–but the one man who has been as reliable as they can come for the team this year is Anthony Davis.

The nine-time NBA All Star appeared in an average of just 49 games over his first four years with Los Angeles and earned the moniker Anthony “Day-to-Davis” for his consistent presence on the team’s injury report. However, Davis has defied expectations in this campaign and is on track to play a career-high 76 games if he suits up for the team’s regular season finale versus the New Orleans Pelicans.


With LeBron James fast approaching his 40th birthday, Davis’ importance to this franchise will only grow in magnitude with each passing day and his continued availability will play a key part in their success moving forward.

Davis, who turned 31 years old last month, is clearly still in the midst of his prime and is averaging 24.5 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.4 blocks per game this season. Those numbers are right about where his career averages are and the Lakers will need him to maintain this level of play over the next few years.

Though James remains the face of Los Angeles, Davis has emerged as the team’s clear-cut best player this season. He has recorded 20 games with at least 30 points, including three 40-point games, and also owns a pair of 20-rebound performances.

What’s even more encouraging about these performances is that many of them have come in recent weeks during the Lakers’ postseason push. He had 27 points, 25 rebounds, five assists, seven steals, and three blocks in their March 10 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, 36 points and 16 rebounds last March 24 when they beat the Indiana Pacers, 34 points and 23 rebounds two days later in a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, and 35 points and 18 rebounds in a victory against the Washington Wizards last April 9 to name a few of his recent strong showings.

The common theme of these outstanding Davis games is that they, more often than not, lead to wins for Los Angeles. If this trend can continue, it would not come as a surprise if the Lakers make another deep postseason run despite, just like last year, entering as a play-in team.

Davis has clearly embraced his role as the team’s leader and Los Angeles has reaped the benefits. He still has a few years of prime age basketball left and holds the key to the team’s success in its last few years with LeBron James onboard and beyond. One important caveat though is that he must remain as healthy as he has this season and if he can do so, the future, at least for the next five years or so, is secure for the Lakers.