The Los Angeles Lakers badly need star big man Anthony Davis to remain healthy if they plan on having any sort of success this season. That, of course, has been an issue over the past two years leading to criticism from many including NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley.
The NBA Hall of Famer is perhaps the most prominent voice within the NBA media and in recent years has taken to referring to Davis as ‘Street Clothes’ due to the number of games he’s missed. And in speaking with Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times, Barkley did not back down off his comments:
“Yeah, I called him, ‘Street Clothes.’ I mean, he’s been hurt more than he has played,” Barkley told The Times. “I mean, I don’t know if he’s ever played 82 games.”
That can not be denied as Davis has played in just 76 games over the past two seasons. In fairness, he was mostly healthy in the four years prior, with Davis missing under 10 games in three of those four seasons and his 2019 numbers being skewed due to being sat down by the New Orleans Pelicans after demanding a trade.
Nonetheless, seasons like his past two where he missed more games than he’s played will bring on more comments and criticism. But in regards to Barkley’s nickname, Davis insists he doesn’t care what he or any other media members say about him:
“I don’t care what he says,” Davis said. “People say stuff for ratings. Like, they got to push their show, push their blog, push their podcast, whatever it is. So, people got to say something to bring in viewers. It is what it is. I go out there and play basketball and let them do their job. My job is to hoop. Their job is to talk about me.”
That is the ideal mindset for Davis to have, as he must put his head down and dominate on the court to end all of that talk. And dominate is exactly what Barkley believes Davis must do in order for the Lakers to be good:
“He hasn’t been healthy,” Barkley said. “And I’ll say the same thing I said last year. I said, ‘Forget about LeBron [James] and [Russell] Westbrook and everybody else — ‘cause they had all the old-ass guys — I said unless Anthony Davis is a top-five MVP candidate, the Lakers are not going to be any good.’ And I think it’s the same way this year. If he’s a top-five player, they are going to have a chance. If he’s not, they are going to be mediocre. It’s all on AD.”
Davis got off to a good start in the Lakers’ opening contest, sparking the Lakers early on his way to 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks although unfortunately it did not result in a Lakers win. But if he is able to keep up that level of play and stay on the floor, it gives the Lakers a much better chance at racking up some wins.
Davis starts Lakers regular season with ‘no restrictions’
There were some concerns with Davis coming into the season as he missed some preseason games due to lower back tightness. Despite both he and Darvin Ham insisting it was minor and he would be good to start the season, his history had some worried.
But the Lakers head coach made it clear that Davis will begin the season with no restrictions and his performance on Opening Night showed that he is just fine.
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