The outlook on Anthony Davis is once again positive. His 2021-22 campaign has been filled with injury after injury amidst the team’s struggles. It’s going to be a bitter reflection looking back on a year where the Western Conference has been up and down sans the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had a shot to establish themselves amongst these contenders, but somewhere along the line — things went as bad as you could imagine with injury and on-court (and maybe off-court) chemistry. The skepticism and doubt is real. You can’t point to the absence of Davis as the sole reason this team is at 29-38 and ninth place in the West. There are a lot of holes in this roster. There’s too much happening in between the walls of this team’s front office. As far as on the floor, LeBron James expressed his belief (or lack thereof) in AD’s possible return (h/t Cooper Halpern of Silver Screen & Roll):
LeBron capped off his comments about the disparity in continuity between the Lakers and Suns with a note on the state of the team: “AD definitely helps, but it’s not the answer to all the questions.”
— Cooper Halpern (@CooperHalpern) March 14, 2022
Davis was recently cleared to do on-court work this week. Today is the day in which he can do start some light shooting and monitor his foot’s reaction. There’s limited time left in the season to try to round AD into shape.
I can’t blame LeBron, and I agree with him. While Davis does provide relief on the offensive and defensive end, he can’t make up for all of the other issues this roster has. The team has not come close to duplicating their last two years of hustle, effort, and strangling defense. Frank Vogel can only do so much to squeeze something out of this personnel.
This team comes and goes with much of Davis’ availability. Regardless of all of the thoughts, it helps them tremendously to get an all-NBA level talent back. At the very least, it gives a sliver of hope to give a more competitive effort than what we’ve seen in the nine games since the All-Star Game break.
Without AD, the Lakers are 2-7 since that break.