After having a wonderful first season together, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are now the two best players in the NBA. That is according to ESPN's ranking of the 100 best players entering the 2020/21 NBA season. They were expected to have a good run last season but it was ESPN itself that projected them to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the fifth position in the Western Conference.
Well, James and Davis did better than that and took their squad to the 1st position in the West and the NBA championship in the Orlando bubble, beating the Miami Heat in six games last October. This season things are very different for the players, who are now the 1st and 2nd ranked on ESPN's list, although not everybody agreed with that ranking.
Since the ranking was created, this is the first time that two teammates sit at the first two positions on the list.
For the first time in the 10-year history of NBArank, teammates finished 1-2. It's a testament to how well AD played in the Lakers' championship run that he created debate about who should win Finals MVP. It was Davis who hit the biggest shot of the playoffs, a 3-pointer to win Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. And the Lakers played better with Davis alone on the court in the postseason (plus-5.0 points per 100 possessions, via NBA Advanced Stats) than with LeBron James alone (plus-0.5) -- a reversal from the regular season.
They made it clear that LeBron returned to his best version last season and even at 35 (soon to be 36), the King is still the ruler of the league. When everybody thought LeBron was washed, he told otherwise and surprised everybody with his performances before and after the suspension of the league.
“To quote ‘The Wire,’ ‘The King stay the King.’ After controversially relinquishing the No. 1 spot to Giannis [Antetokounmpo] in the wake of his injury-marred first season in Los Angeles, LeBron reclaimed the NBArank throne he has held nine of the past 10 years by winning his fourth title and Finals MVP at age 35,” it read. “James continues to evolve, leading the league in assists while ceding some scoring to Davis. With the short turnaround before opening night, it’s unlikely James will match last season’s 67 (of 71) games played. Come playoff time, however, there’s still nobody you’d rather start your team with than LeBron.”
These two are ready to run it back with the Lakers, especially after the incredible moves they made during the offseason. LeBron and AD are two of the best players in the league and as long as they stay healthy, the team will have a chance at the title.