The Los Angeles Lakers looked to be peaking at the right time during the 2019-20 NBA season as they put together one of their best weekends of basketball after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.
However, those wins almost seem like a lifetime ago after the NBA decided to suspend the rest of the season amidst the coronavirus outbreak. It is a surreal time as all professional and amateur sports leagues have either postponed or canceled games, a jarring event when considering just how quickly things escalated in recent weeks.
Despite the pandemic putting basketball on hold, fans can still delight in the fact that Anthony Davis is donning purple and gold and will play a pivotal role in helping the Lakers get through the 2020 NBA playoffs and winning a championship when the season eventually resumes. His two-way presence has been a boon for Los Angeles and he is one of the few talents in the league that can make his presence known on both ends of the floor.
Davis was considered the frontrunner for the 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award over Rudy Gobert during the season and it appears he has peers like Ben Simmons vouching for him, according to Adam Hermann of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
I look at AD and I think he’s a better defender than Gobert, because he can defend guards at times. … Look, I play ball, I’m looking at guys who can guard 1 through 5, man. … You can’t say you’re one of the best defenders if you’re not guarding every position.
Gobert has won the award in consecutive seasons, but he and the Utah Jazz were in a bit of a rough patch while Davis continued to see his odds increase with all the national exposure he and Los Angeles were getting. However, it is completely warranted as Davis raised the team’s defense to championship levels on a nightly basis and could not be played off the floor no matter what lineups opposing teams trotted out.
His versatility guarding one through five and defending the rim make him a unique and special defender and he should come away with the award no matter what happens with the rest of the regular season. It would be a well-deserved honor given all the effort he has put in to date.
However, the most important thing right now is for the league to navigate this pandemic and ensure that all players and team personnel are safe and healthy before talks of playing can even begin.