Anthony Davis caused quite the stir when he sought a trade during the 2018-19 season and indicated the Los Angeles Lakers were a preferred destination on a short list of teams.
Although the Lakers eventually completed a deal, it wasn’t until the offseason and it came with some still doubting whether Davis was enough to help LeBron James get the franchise back to relevance.
Now with an NBA championship, those doubts about Davis and the Lakers have been thoroughly squashed. Davis showed his dominance throughout the Playoffs, shutting down opposing teams while also carrying most of the scoring burden when the stakes were at their highest.
The big man has always been considered a top-five talent in the league, but his postseason run all but cemented that fact. The most encouraging thing for Los Angeles is that Davis is only 27 years old and should improve his game, especially since he has a teammate and role model like James to look to.
Davis’ play prompted Jared Dudley to declare that he was the best power forward of all-time, during an appearance on the “Bill Simmons Podcast”:
“Yes. I think Duncan was more of a set standard in the sense that you knew exactly what you were going to get from Duncan; he could go inside-out. I think A.D. is way more talented, better defensively, especially in this modern era. I think A.D. has another level.”
Tim Duncan has always been the standard when it comes to the power forward position and his resumé speaks for itself. However, from a talent standpoint, there is an argument for Davis. Especially because he plays in an era where front court players are required to be more versatile than ever.
Davis is more than capable of adding more skills to his game like playmaking and 3-point shooting, two things that would make him unstoppable offensively. The modern game is defined by playmakers and spacing, and the superstar could be the one to usher in the next revolution of big men.
Despite the expectation he will decline his player option, Davis is reportedly going to re-sign with the Lakers, meaning they will have their star for the foreseeable future and should remain contenders as a result.
Davis on what it means to be a champion
Davis fulfilled the hopes of the Laker organization and its fans when he helped lead the team to its 17th NBA tittle.
It is a noteworthy accomplishment and one that helps his case as one of the best players in the NBA. However, Davis noted that he hopes to earn more hardware during his career and is focused on getting better to do so.
“It’s just part of your legacy, to say you’re a champion,” Davis said. “Not everybody can say that. I wanted to do the same thing in New Orleans. I was there for seven years. You want to go out there and compete for a championship every time you step on the floor. Got close, going to the second round. We thought we had a chance before DeMarcus got hurt.
“It just puts a bigger target on your back, honestly. Teams are going to come after you next year, especially when you’re one of the top players. Guys want to take out the champion. The next four or five years, you have to get better and better. I have to keep improving my game and hopefully I can have this feeling again.”
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