Do-or-die time: Lakers need Anthony Davis in MVP form to contend for a title

Anthony Davis (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

The NBA season kicked off with Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and the LA Lakers taking on the reigning champion Golden State Warriors and getting thoroughly outmatched. And therein lies the problem. The Lakers are old and not a good team. That shouldn’t be an excuse with Anthony Davis on the team, who seems content with just one ring from a bubble championship.

Anthony Davis is not holding up his end of being a consistent force with the Los Angeles Lakers.

You can’t come in and say, “If the Los Angeles Lakers’ title deserves a bubble asterisk, what about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their title run?” That’s what Shannon Sharpe, a Laker/Lebron fan, would say. Sorry, but that run to a title required traveling instead of being cooped up in one place. Yes, it was a pandemic, but the teams still traveled and moved around rather than being confined to a neutral site for the entire postseason, and there was no time off in the NFL as there was in the NBA.

But back to our regularly scheduled program, if we look at what has happened thus far in Davis’ tenure in the purple and gold and look with a microscope, there is more controversy than collaboration and camaraderie. The Lakers are not a team that scares people, mainly because of their age and lack of impact on the court.

At some point in time, LeBron James will walk away, and Davis will be expected to be the face of the team. But if he can’t be consistent when playing with an all-time great like James, how is it possible to expect him to do it once James hangs up his shoes?

The 2022–2023 NBA season is do-or-die time for Anthony Davis if he wants to be the next face of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony Davis has not looked like the man who was possessed during the Orlando timeframe, where he showed more aggression and assertiveness en route to LA, beating Miami for the title.

We should be grateful for that if nothing else because it deprived ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith of his dream of traveling to LA and Miami for the finals, which was on his wishlist. The teams made it, but in a pandemic, so no travel. Sorry, not sorry.

But back to Anthony Davis. Since that run to the title, he hasn’t been the same player. There are moments when he will show up and give you a performance that warrants a standing ovation. There are other times when his performance, or lack thereof, has sportswriters and bloggers attacking their keyboards to write out the obvious: the lack of intensity since the ring, and the aloof nature of his game.

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It may be early, but it has to be said. Anthony Davis needs to step up. The Lakers are coming off a season in which many favored them to win the championship, and they didn’t even make the playoffs or the play-in. That’s about as disappointing as it gets for a town and franchise that prides itself on collecting trophies.