Darvin Ham, the LA Lakers' new coach, believes Anthony Davis can be the centerpiece for a championship run, calling him a top five player. NBA analyst Monica McNutt, however, believes Kawhi Leonard should be ranked ahead of AD.
On "All The Smoke," Ham talked about how Davis is crucial to the Lakers' 2022-23 season. He said the three-time block champion could be one of the top three players in the league.
"Just to be healthy," Ham said. "At the end of the day, it all starts and ends there with him. His skill set is undeniable. When he’s healthy like he was in 2020 in that bubble run, he’s top five in the league, easy. Top three!"
On ESPN's "First Take," McNutt said that lthough she believes AD is close to the top five, she does not think he makes the cut.
"Why would Darvin Ham say that? Anyway, no, he's not," McNutt said. "I don't have AD as a top five. I don't have him far off, but I think if we're gonna go to the healthy conversation, y'all forgetting about that guy named Kawhi Leonard? So, for me, he's in my top five."
When asked to list her top five, she said:
"Steph, KD, LeBron, Giannis, Kawhi."
The fact that is worth discussing shows how great of a player AD is.
ESPN's Kendrick Perkins is also thrilled at the prospect of AD in the upcoming season. He believes the former NBA champ could win his first MVP award next year. While these are milestones he can achieve, his health is a major concern
Anthony Davis has been putting in work this offseason
Davis was bashed by the NBA community on social media after he revealed that he had not touched a ball since April. He has long been accused of losing interest in basketball since winning the 2020 title, and his social media post fueled the fire of that narrative.
However, Davis has since started preparing for the new season. LeBron James was willing to hand him the keys to the team after the 2020 championship run, but the All-Star forward has not been healthy.
AD struggled last season from beyond the arc, shooting a measly 18.2%. He was lethal from deep during the bubble season, knocking down several game-winning shots in the playoffs.
The big man has recognized his flaws and has since been working on his jump shot with one of the league's best trainers. If he toes the line, he could be an elite-level threat from all areas of the floor.
Still, a lot is riding on him staying healthy for the bulk of the season. He has not played more than 40 games in either of the last two seasons.