The Athletic ranks Lakers’ Anthony Davis in Tier 2A of NBA players

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The Athletic ranks Lakers’ Anthony Davis in Tier 2A of NBA players
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After dealing with multiple lower-leg injuries, Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis didn’t have the season he wanted.

Davis first went down with a calf strain in mid February and didn’t return until late April. He finished the regular season, but it unraveled again in the playoffs when Davis dealt with a knee sprain in Game 3 against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs followed by a groin strain in Game 4.

The 28-year-old big man played in 36 games during the truncated 72-game campaign, which wasn’t ideal for the Lakers.

But when he didn’t have injury concerns and had a rhythm going, Davis was a force to reckon with.

In Seth Partnow of The Athletic’s player rankings, Davis came in the “2A” tier with Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks.

Davis sat at the summit of the tier but was just short of the “1” tier, which featured LeBron James in the “1A” category, the best it can get.

Here’s why Davis slotted in at 2A, according to Partnow, as Davis’ shooting splits returned to normal while he had to create more for himself without James in the lineup:

“All of which is a long-winded way of noting that Davis’ season reaffirmed his status as the best second-best player in the league. Between his finishing ability and versatile defensive impact, he is a devastating playoff force when healthy. And I don’t want to foreclose the possibility of him being the best player on a team that does win a title. But his pre-Lakers playoff career should serve as an illustration of the difficulty in building a contender around him. There were some pretty good players on those New Orleans teams. Put many of the Tier 1 players on those teams in Davis’ place, and I think it’s likely there would have been a degree more success. And that’s the distinction between Tier 1 and 2.”

If Davis can stay healthy next season, he could have a chance to climb into the top tier with Russell Westbrook entering the fold. And if Davis plays more minutes at center this season, which could be the case with the number of perimeter threats L.A. signed, his numbers could be even more appealing.