For LeBron James, there’s no question that the Lakers are Anthony Davis’ team.
Anthony Davis renewed his contract with the Lakers this summer until 2028. With such a lucrative contract, his outstanding performance in last season’s playoffs, and the fact that LeBron James is no longer young, has Davis finally become the Lakers’ number one player? Options?
Of course James thinks so, As he told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“He’s the face of (the team). You look at all these (retirement) numbers around this facility, all the great players that have come here and AD is one of them.”
It’s always good news when a team’s original leader gives you a seal of approval and approves the transfer of power, but Davis has to prove this change in hierarchy on and off the court.
While Davis has been the best defender on the Lakers and in the NBA, his offense has had its moments of struggle, such as his performance in Game 2 against the Warriors or his inability to hit consistently since the 2020 season. Three point shot. Regarding the latter point, head coach Davin Hamm has already stated that he hopes Davis can shoot more three-pointers this year and hopes to see him average 6 three-pointers per game.
With LeBron’s future uncertain this season, this could be Davis’ last chance to become the leader of a LeBron-led team. In basketball, where a team’s “leader” is a nebulous thing compared to football, where a captain brings in an indication of who that player is, whether Davis is a true leader will be more of a test of the eye.
Assume he’s among the best on the team offensively. If he continues to be a dominant rim protector, becomes more vocal on the floor and stays healthy, of course, maybe he will become the Lakers’ best player and leader. Davis will eventually follow in the footsteps of past Lakers big men like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal and become the face of the franchise.
Until people see it, though, it’s all about LeBron. He was the brightest star in the City of Angels, and not even his blessing for change could make it a reality. Even if Davis never replaces James as that guy, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Many Lakers made a huge impact as the No. 2 and won multiple championships. Pau Gasol is a name that comes to mind, and his jersey now hangs in the rafters of Crytpo.com Arena.
Will Davis be the next player in the family to make the unquestionable leap to leadership, or will he remain an overqualified second option? This season should determine that in a big way.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter: @ECreates88.