Amid the LA Lakers' ups and downs over the past three years, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have been at the center of everything. They were the biggest reasons why the Lakers won the 2020 championship and they were significant reasons for their recent failures as well.
During the Lakers’ training camp, James was asked what he thought of Davis’ conditioning and mental makeup for next season. The four-time MVP deferred to Davis regarding the answer but said:
“I’m happy to be his teammate, extremely proud to be his best friend. … I’m his best friend, I don’t care what he says. It’s just an honor for me to be teammates with such a great player, even better person. You can ask him how he’s feeling coming into his third year here.”
Next season is actually Anthony Davis’ fourth with the Lakers. His record alongside James over the past three years isn’t terribly disappointing. But so much is expected out of the two superstars that anything less than greatness is considered a disappointment.
They won the championship in Year 1, lost in the first round in their second year and failed miserably last season.
Both are targeting availability as their biggest goals for next season. Davis, in particular, has played only 76 games in two years, which is why questions about his health and fitness are never far away.
James hasn’t also been as durable recently as he used to be in the past. He has been injured more times since signing with the Lakers than in any of his previous seasons. It’s for this reason that the four-time MVP significantly changed his diet for next season.
If both are healthy, the Lakers may not be considered by many as title contenders, but they will have a puncher’s chance.
The LA Lakers’ offense will need elite chemistry from LeBron James and Anthony Davis
Whether Anthony Davis and LeBron James are the best of friends is beside the point when it comes to basketball. The LA Lakers don’t need them to be that close on a personal level. The Lakers just need their chemistry to be at its best next season.
Darvin Ham has decided to make Davis the fulcrum of the offense next season for several reasons. He wants Davis to take a more active role as a leader and wants to keep James’ workload to what’s necessary.
Last season, James and Davis played only 22 games together. They ended with a dismal 11-11 record. The LA Lakers simply can’t afford a repeat of that next season if they want to punch a ticket into the postseason.
When the Lakers won the 2020 championship, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were a mean 1-2 punch that no team had an answer for. ESPN ranked them as the two best players in the NBA after leading the Lakers to their 17th championship.
The LA Lakers will need both to be clicking on all cylinders. Especially on their chemistry if they want to avoid a repeat of last season.