The expectations the Los Angeles Lakers set when completing a trade for Anthony Davis to pair with LeBron James were clear. L.A. aimed to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy home for the first time in 10 years.
And even though the All-Star tandem had little time to gel, James and Davis quickly developed a fruitful relationship and led the Lakers to the No.1 seed in the Western Conference.
After sealing a series win over the Houston Rockets in Game 5, L.A. now are at the halfway mark of their championship journey. And they have proven they have the talent, confidence and roster depth to take it all despite struggling early in the NBA restart.
And for Davis, the Lakers’ accomplishments thus far have met what he expected upon joining the franchise. “I just feel like everything has fallen into place,” he said. “When I got here, obviously the goal is to win a championship, and we’re eight wins away.
“It’s been a great process for me, it’s been great being around the guys that we have, obviously been great being around ‘Bron. He’s just helping me through it all. At this point now, Western Conference Finals is new for me, so that process is going to be fun.
“It’s everything that I’ve envisioned.”
Davis, a two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, said the importance of defense is the biggest lesson he has learned in L.A. The Lakers were the NBA’s best defense during the regular season and have thrived on that end of the floor in the series with the Portland Trail Blazers and Rockets.
“You hear it all the time, but defense wins championship,” Davis said. “That’s been the main thing that I’ve learned. No matter how you play offensively, you’ve got to be able to execute defensively what you go over.”
Vogel ‘excited’ what lays ahead for Lakers
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been nothing but appreciative of James, Davis, and their leadership in their first season together. And despite hitting a few bumps in the road, particularly earlier in the NBA restart, he is confident and thrilled about L.A.’s future.
“There was a little bit of unfamiliarity and trying to work guys in and whatnot,” Vogel said of his team’s slump in the seeding games.
“But the confidence I’ve had in this group has been strong all the way through. I’m excited about what we can accomplish going forward, not just what we’ve accomplished thus far.”
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