The Los Angeles Lakers ran through the league all season long, for a variety of reasons which includes great depth in all positions and great coaching from the staff. But without a doubt, the #1 reason why the Lakers were so dominant was because of the dominant duo of Anthony Davis and LeBron James. LeBron finished 2nd in the MVP race this season while AD leads the Lakers in scoring at 26.1 PPG. There were many great NBA duos this season, but Davis and LeBron rank at the very top.
This has led to a conversation of whether Anthony Davis is LeBron's greatest ever teammate. While he must win at least 1 or 2 more rings to distinguish himself among the rest of LeBron's former all-time great teammates, he is already in the conversation. In fact, Anthony Davis might be the best possible superstar with LeBron James. That's right, Anthony Davis is the best possible superstar that will help LeBron James win rings over other NBA superstars including Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kawhi Leonard. Here are the 5 main reasons why.
5. Best Big Man In The NBA
There are a lot of great NBA bigs right now, despite the criticism from older NBA players who feel that big men no longer play a role in today's NBA. The only difference is those big men today are required to handle the ball more often and even shoot jumpers more than simply crashing the boards and blocking shots. The game has changed, and NBA bigs have begun to adapt. Guys like Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, and Bam Adebayo among others are tremendous examples of versatile bigs who can do it all and that is why they are all All-Stars.
But Anthony Davis is the very best big man in the NBA. He averaged 26.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 2.3 BPG while shooting 50.3% from the field. Davis also hit 33.0% of his threes and 84.6% of his free throws. He is the complete package on offense and he is exactly what LeBron James needed as a guy who can be trusted to lead the team in scoring. Davis can space the floor, finish inside, attack the rim, and even play in the flow of an offense with no problem. He is arguably the most unique big man in NBA history because he plays like a guard yet stands 7-feet tall.
LeBron James has the complete package on offense and also on defense. His 1.5 SPG and 2.3 BPG averages are sensational, and his impact on a game was apparent in the playoffs. Anthony Davis performed like the best big man in the regular season and in the playoffs and deserves to be recognized as the best in the NBA.
Anthony Davis has a tremendous defensive impact as a power forward or center. While guys like Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo have won Defensive Player of the Year Awards in recent years, Anthony Davis brings the type of rim protection that an aging LeBron James needs most. James can trust that if a player beats him or anyone else on the perimeter, they will run into the long and lanky Anthony Davis who has a knack for swatting shots away. He is taller than both Giannis and Kawhi and averages more BPG. Davis defends the rim as a big man far better than either player and that helped the Laker's defense tremendously.
Davis is also very capable of guarding smaller players on the perimeter as well. He can move his feet very well and can keep up with most NBA guards. Davis's versatility on defense was key for the Lakers, and LeBron James had a player who can dominate the defense in any way possible. As good as other NBA superstars are, they don't bring the kind of rim protection that AD has, especially considering his defensive awareness when on an "Island" as well.
3. Doesn't Demand The Ball
Anthony Davis is the perfect complement to LeBron James because he doesn't demand the ball like KD, Giannis, or Kawhi do. Anthony Davis is a perfect system player because he can play a role in the flow of an offense including pick n roll, pick n pop, or even off-ball movement for jumpers. Davis isn't the type of player to get upset if he doesn't get his 20 touches a game, and rather it is his own teammate that get upset when he isn't shooting. Davis is too efficient and effective to not take the bulk of the shots, yet he can play in an unselfish system.
LeBron James loves to handle the ball because he might be the best playmaker in the NBA, and it often works to his team's success. James has now won 4 rings as the main ball handler and that should never change. Kawhi Leonard and KD love to have the ball in isolation situations and are scorers first before anything else on offense. Giannis is also a major ball handler who needs the ball to make plays for himself or his teammates. LeBron has a guy in AD who can score at any time and can be patient enough to get his touches when it suits the team best.
2. He Is The Perfect Robin
Anthony Davis is the best Robin in the NBA right now. Everywhere LeBron James goes, he is the Batman and undisputed leader of the team. After all, LeBron brings the most hype and most dominant skillset in the game today. LeBron James has it all as an NBA superstar and we have seen him dominate the league for nearly 2 decades. As such, he always needs a dominant Robin to help relieve pressure off him to win. He had it in Miami with Dwyane Wade and later in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving. He always had a superstar scorer and clutch shot-maker to help him win, and he has that with Anthony Davis now.
Anthony Davis is the perfect Robin in terms of attitude and skillset. He doesn't bring the drama that other NBA superstars bring (such as Durant or Leonard) and doesn't make a fuss in the media. He is relatively mild-mannered and just wants to dominate basketball games. LeBron brings the spotlight everywhere he goes, so it is refreshing to have a player like AD who simply dominates the game. As the best big man in the NBA who doesn't rely on trash talk, controversy, or imposing personality traits; Davis is the best sidekick to LeBron James where he can learn and grow to be the man leading the Lakers very soon.
1. To Become The Perfect Batman
Anthony Davis is the best possibly sidekick to LeBron James that can eventually be the Batman for the Lakers. Like a young Padawan becoming a Jedi Master, Davis is being groomed and prodded to be the next big star of the Purple and Gold and of the entire NBA once LeBron James hangs it up. Anthony Davis was always a great player but he didn't quite win with the New Orleans Pelicans. He didn't have any superstars around him and certainly no leaders to look up to. In Los Angeles, he has the best possible leader to look up to in LeBron James who makes his teammates better on the floor and also remains pristine off the court.
Davis has shown he isn't the type of player to buy into controversy too much, and besides his request for a trade to the Lakers which got ugly, he hasn't been recognized for anything other than basketball. Anthony Davis will soon become Batman for the Lakers and there isn't a better position for him to learn than to be Robin right now. AD has already begun improving his game when playing alongside LeBron James and this is expected to continue on his path to being an all-time great player.