The Los Angeles Lakers are looking good for the most part so far. Even with some bumpy turns, they are leading the mighty Western Conference with a 12-4 record and have a perfect 8-0 slate on the road. As defending champions who added more established talent, one can argue that they’ve actually become more dangerous than last season.
The lingering question now, however, is the rather lukewarm start of their superstar big man, Anthony Davis. The seven-time All-Star is averaging 21.1 points, nine rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in 14 outings this season, which, despite being healthy numbers, isn’t quiet par for his standards. For context, the PPG is his lowest since 2014-15, while the boards and blocks are his worst since his rookie year.
Sorting through AD’s recent game logs is actually even more telling. He’s only posting 17.8 points on 47.9% shooting over his last five games. In between that stretch was a two-game window where he went a combined 11-for-32 from the floor.
AD is admittedly well-aware of his rocky performances. On Friday (Manila time), he spoke to the media after their 113-106 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, and openly criticized his play:
“Right now, to be hard on myself, man, I think I suck right now … I’m not making shots. I’m not making free throws. But I think tonight my aggressiveness, just being a [post-up threat] and getting to the paint, allowed guys to get open.”Anthony Davis on his struggles
Later, he addressed how well his teammates played, especially during crunch time, which may have fortunately cancelled out his up-and-down presence:
“I trust my teammates. [Alex Caruso] hit one for me, [LeBron James] hit one and [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope] hit one, and they’re in the right spots where I want guys when I have the ball in the post … And just I’m able to make the read with their guys doubling or collapsing to the paint when I get there, and was able to kick it out and those guys made shots.”Anthony Davis on his teammates
Should the Lakers be worried?
It’s easy to say no because Davis, at the very least, is a top 5 player. You have to assume that he’ll find his groove soon enough.
There’s a lot to think about, though. On one end, the Lakers and their fans can be actually more optimistic because they’re winning while AD is not performing like usual. On another end, however, there can be concerns as to how long is it going to last. What if he’s actually banged up because of the short off-season? How will it affect the team once the latter part of the 2020-21 grind hits? Should they look at giving him extended rest or taking more games off?
The Lakers are the defending champs and have proven they can get it done in the playoffs, so being the first seed may not be as important having AD ready to play when it matters most.
Whichever it may be, the next line of challenges should be telling. The Lakers just began a road trip that has six more stops to go, and it’ll feature Davis matching up against Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond, Clint Capela, and the scheme-heavy Boston Celtics, among others.
The Lakers’ next game will be tomorrow, Sunday, at 10 AM (Manila time), against Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls.