Since winning the NBA championship in 2020, it has been a rough couple of years for the Los Angeles Lakers. It is no coincidence the same has been true for Anthony Davis.
While the team hasn’t gotten past the first round of the playoffs since, Davis has had significant trouble remaining healthy over the last three seasons. He has dealt with a calf strain, groin strain, sprained knee, sprained foot and a right foot stress injury.
But now that the Lakers have dramatically remodeled the supporting cast around him and LeBron James, their outlook has drastically improved, and it has Davis feeling very confident about what they can do if they make the playoffs (h/t Lakers Daily).
“If we actually have a full summer, full training camp, go through an entire season, who knows the position we’ll be in,” Davis said. ” … The team we have now, we feel like not only can we make noise this year, and I like our chance against anybody to be honest. You put anybody against us, I like our chances. … Who knows what we could be, what threat we could be next year and then years to come if they work it out and are able to keep this group together.”
The acquisitions of Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba have addressed some of L.A.’s biggest weaknesses, including 3-point shooting and frontcourt depth.
In Davis’ eyes, those acquisitions have made the team resemble the version that won it all in the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.
“We have less bigs, for sure, but I think adding D-Lo (D’Angelo Russell), Vando (Jarred Vanderbilt), Beas (Malik Beasley), gives us that identity again,” Davis said. “With Beas filling that KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) role as a shooter. D-Lo is like that [Rajon] Rondo wizardry with the ball and finds guys. … Vando with the AC (Alex Caruso) role that he played. Even bringing Rui [Hachimura] with the Kuz (Kyle Kuzma) role. So, obviously that team was special. … But I think this team has potential to be like that team.”
Since the All-Star break, the Lakers have had one of the NBA’s best records at 10-5, and they have the league’s best defensive rating during that span.
LeBron James remains out of action with a right foot ailment, but once he returns, the Purple and Gold could be the proverbial team nobody wants to face in the playoffs.