Lakers: Even LeBron James thinks Anthony Davis is back
Since the team left Orlando in 2020, lakers fans have longed for the return of Bubble Anthony Davis. An all-out dominant force, AD controlled the game on both ends of the court and looked like the future star of the franchise.
Injuries and inconsistent play have plagued Davis since then, but his play in recent contests has been something on par with Bubble AD. Sunday’s performance of 30 points and 18 rebounds in a win against the Spurs he was the third straight to record at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, joining only Shaq and Elgin Baylor as Lakers to complete the feat.
All this comes with LeBron James sidelined with injury it has made it even more important for the Lakers. After this weekend’s win, Davis spoke with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and discussed his conversations with LeBron about his recent play (emphasis mine).
“Obviously when he’s out, or if I’m out, we take it upon ourselves to fill, as much as we can, that void,” Davis told ESPN when asked about his ascension in James’ absence.
While the Lakers’ big man intended to take on more of the load to give James more time to recover, he didn’t specifically plan it as recovery from what James did last season.
“We haven’t talked about it, but he said I play like my old self, so I’m trying to get back to that rhythm.” Davis told ESPN about James’ comments.
This current version of AD looks very different from Bubble AD in terms of play style. From a shot profile standpoint, 24% of AD’s shots during that playoff run were characterized by Cleaning The Glass as long mid-range jumpers. By comparison, just 12% of his shots this season are long and mid-range efforts.
Instead, Davis has converted those attempts from distance into attempts at the rim. During the title run, only 36% of his shots were at the rim. This season, 54% of his shots are at the rim as he has fully embraced being a center offensively by rejecting the shots he has struggled with in recent years and getting closer to the basket.
In a different kind of domain from Davis, which makes it even more impressive in some ways. Davis has changed his game and is dominant again.
Now, that’s only three games against a run of playoff performances, so they’re not really comparable. We’re a long way from saying AD is replaying his career on the bubble, but that doesn’t mean he’s not playing at that level right now.
Unfortunately, given the state of this Lakers roster, they’re going to need him to be Bubble AD for most of the rest of the season to even be competitive. It’s a tall order, but AD has proven he’s capable of competing at a high level.
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