There’s a little more anger in the way Anthony Davis plays. And that’s fine.

Davis is throwing down dunks in moments where a layup would have sufficed. On the post, he’s sealing his defender, backing him down with a little extra something. The blocks remain as imposing as ever, but he shoves his opponent and lets him know about it.

The frustrations are warranted, not only because of his personal struggles, but also that of the Los Angeles Lakers.

At 39-32, the Lakers are clinging to the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings. They may have their work cut out for them if they want to catch up to the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, and the Dallas Mavericks and avoid the Play-In Tournament, but they have put more distance between them and the struggling Golden State Warriors.

Los Angeles’ current predicament is mostly on them, and they’ll be the first to admit that they wasted more than a handful of chances to gain ground and overtake those ahead of them. Inconsistent play and careless mistakes are on the top of the list of reasons why and much of the flak has also been directed toward Davis.

Since leading the Lakers to a championship in 2020, the former Kentucky Wildcat has been hounded with injuries and missed significant time, with the nickname “Street Clothes” coming to life (although there are a few stars who have missed more time than him). Moments of dominance from Davis are unfortunately followed up by a bad fall, rolled ankle, or any other injury that derails his momentum.

Entering the 2023-2024 season, expectations surrounding Davis were promising but muted given his past. So far, he’s done well enough to make a good account for himself.


Davis’s offense has been good, but the greater developments have come in the other facets of his game. His defensive numbers are up there with his career-best numbers, but more emphasis must be placed on his passing. The 3.6 assists he currently averages are his highest since the 2018-2019 season, with the low turnovers (2.0 per game) further pointing to his greater care for the basketball.

In fact, much of these were on display in Los Angeles’ 150-145 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Davis was able to contribute in pretty much every way possible, but Laker fans can go home happy knowing that he was aggressive. There were definitely moments where the nine-time NBA All-Star was tempted to settle for the easy jumpshot, but he was relentless in his efforts to attack his defenders. Miss a shot? He’ll put it back with authority. Blow by his teammates? Watch out and he’ll swat your shot to the stands.

As we approach the final stages of the 2023-2024 regular season, Anthony Davis is on pace for a milestone he rarely achieves as of late. Having played 67 games with 11 games left on Los Angeles’ schedule, the 31-year old is on pace to move within or even improve on the career-high 75 games he played back in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. That alone should silence the critics, but him playing at a high level certainly strikes fear into the Lakers’ opponents. At this point, however, Los Angeles would prefer to give him some rest, but they’d also want to avoid the Play-In Tournament and add more wear and tear to his body.

Davis, though, wouldn’t mind so long as the wins and better circumstances come.