The NBA has ushered in a newfound sense of parity going into the 2019-20 season and the Los Angeles Lakers made sure to secure one of their most formidable duos with the Anthony Davis trade from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Although the trade took longer than initially planned, both sides were able to come to an agreement thanks to the efforts of Davis’ agent, Rich Paul. It is safe to say that Paul’s close relationship with LeBron James helped to facilitate a deal where the Lakers were essentially willing to give up the farm for Davis.
Los Angeles took some flak for giving up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple draft picks in the deal. However, Paul feels it is a small price to pay for a player that is clearly on par with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Paul indicated that Davis brings more to the table than Antetokounmpo:
“He’s just as talented as anyone who’s ever played this game,” Paul says. “Six-11, makes 3s, blocks shots. I think he’s one of the better passing big men in our game. In my opinion, this is what makes him different from Giannis [Antetokounmpo].”
Paul added that Davis would have led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 2019 NBA Finals in Antetokounmpo’s place.
“Like, if you put Anthony Davis on that Bucks team last year, they’d be playing in the Finals. He knows how to make guys better. That’s not a knock to Giannis, but that’s just what [I think].”
Although this is mere speculation coming from Paul, it is certainly an intriguing scenario for debate. There was no question that Antetokounmpo was deserving of the 2019-20 NBA MVP award, but the Toronto Raptors found a way to limit his production in the Eastern Conference Finals due to the heroics of Kawhi Leonard.
Given Davis’ position, Leonard’s presence would not have been as much of an issue for him as it clearly was for Antetokounmpo. The fact that Davis is capable of stretching the floor with his range provides an added dynamic that Antetokounmpo did not have last season.
Regardless, Paul has essentially doubled down by helping the Lakers pair what he likely feels are the two best players in the league. The onus will now fall on James and Davis to justify the massive investment Los Angeles made by restoring this team to their former glory days.