Fans and pundits alike are big on comparisons, especially in the age of social media where opinions are quick to be put out. Of course, the ones who are constantly on the hot seat are superstars or whoever is winning, since people want their achievements to be dissected.
“Superstar” and “whoever is winning” fits the Los Angeles Lakers’ pair of All-Stars: LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Both are among the biggest names in the sport and their team is currently halfway to winning a championship. So yeah, despite not even having a full season together (yet), their partnership is a particularly hot topic right now.
The prevailing question is if Davis is the best teammate James’s has ever had, which is a tough debate as it includes a couple of ultra-talented players – the top two being Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving.
One of James’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, and currently one of the most polarizing NBA analysts on TV, Kendrick Perkins, believes that Davis indeed deserves that label.
Interestingly enough, one of the other two choices, Wade himself, agrees.
Maybe he’s being sarcastic, who knows? Whichever it may be, it might be a long-running debate for the months and years to come.
How does Davis compare to Wade and Irving?
As a two-way, stretch five, Davis is a unique and unbelievable player. He’s ‘The Unicorn’ the way Kristaps Porzingis, Dirk Nowitzki, or Ralph Sampson are, but his version is amped up into a much-higher level – we’re talking about a 6’10 power forward-slash-center that can run, move, and handle the ball like a guard. As any big man should, he plays elite defense, and on top of that, he’s vastly improving his mid-range shot.
The numbers are just as good. In playing with LeBron this season, Davis compiled all-around numbers of 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.3 blocks per game, and also shot efficiently by having 20 games of shooting over 55% from the floor. Despite sharing the rebounding duties with James and co-giants Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee, AD was also able put up 29 double-doubles via points and boards.
It’s pretty obvious that Davis is an elite figure in the game, both in talent and production, maybe even in a league of his own.
Davis got All-Star, All-NBA, and All-Defense selections this season. Considering his steals and blocks per game averages, as well as his defensive win shares, one can also argue that he may have been robbed of a Defensive Player of the Year award.
Wade and Irving’s case
Let’s address the obvious edge that these two guys have: a championship. As you know, Wade (2012, 2013) and Irving (2016) have both won a title with James. Davis and James are still trying to get their first.
Make no mistake about it, though, with or without the title, Wade and Irving aren’t far off in terms of the “wow” factor.
Wade was a super athletic and explosive scoring guard with a relentless focus on attacking the basket, and he had great instincts on defense. He was an exciting 1B to James’s 1A in their four key years in Miami (2010-2014), and he logged 22.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.6 SPG on 51.3%.
Irving, meanwhile, is a headache for any defense, an exciting and explosive offensive weapon that can get buckets anywhere. He may be one of the finest offensive talents the game has seen – he’s an elite finisher with top-tier handles and reliable mid-range outside shooting.
Kyrie averaged 22.3 points, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.1 threes per game in his three seasons with James (2014-2017). They went to the finals each year (he missed most of the 2015 trip) and he co-lead the legendary 2016 finals run, where they powered the historic, 3-1 comeback over the 73-win Golden State Warriors.
So, who is LeBron’s best teammate?
The truth is: it’s a bit tough tell for now since Davis hasn’t even completed a full season with James. However, it’s pretty telling that he’s already a legit choice in the debate this early.