Last season was one to forget for Los Angeles Lakers star big man Anthony Davis. For the second consecutive season, Davis missed more than half of the year due to injuries and even when he was on the court, he never quite looked like himself.
Some would contribute that to the extra weight Davis put on in expectation of playing more center last year, but whatever the case may be, Davis simply did not deliver last season. And that showed in his drop in ESPN’s annual NBARank of the top 100 players in the league.
Last season, Davis cracked the top 10 at No. 9 overall. But this season. he fell 11 spots, coming in at No. 20 overall with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin stating the obvious in that good health changes everything for Davis:
Davis missed 78 of the Lakers’ 154 games the past two seasons because of various injuries. Just by virtue of some good health and some good luck, Davis can and should impact winning the way he did in his first season in L.A. when the Lakers won it all.
Davis averaged 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 blocks last season, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Though there were flashes at times and some exceptional games here and there, overall Davis did not move or play like the man who helped the Lakers hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2020.
Most notable was his jump shot just plummeting from previous seasons. Davis shot just 18.6% from 3-point range and his normally reliable mid-range jumper was inconsistent at best. What makes Davis special is his ability to affect the game in so many ways and while he was still dominant in the paint, his perimeter struggles only further doomed a Lakers team with little shooting to begin with.
But Davis has a chance to put the league back on notice this season. New coach Darvin Ham reportedly plans to run the offense through Davis and if he is able to stay on the court and correct some of the issues that plagued him last season, Davis could be in for a monster bounceback year.
LeBron James ranks sixth, Russell Westbrook 65th in ESPN NBARank
There were falls across the board for all three of the Lakers’ superstars in ESPN’s rankings of the top 100 NBA players.
LeBron James saw a small drop of three spots, but that was enough to put him outside of the top five at No. 6. Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, fell from No. 29 all the way down to 65th overall in ESPN’s rankings for the upcoming season.
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