There’s no doubt that after Anthony Davis’ impressive playoff performance there would be high expectations for him coming into this season. Unfortunately, the legendary Wildcat has not necessarily met those insanely lofty expectations.
In fact, not only has Davis played below MVP standards, but he’s performed worse this season than many seasons in the past. To put it in perspective, Davis is averaging only one more point per game this season than his second season in the league. On top of that, he’s averaging fewer rebounds, fewer blocks, and more turnovers this season than his sophomore effort all the way back in the 2013-14 season.
Now obviously Anthony Davis is a far better player currently than he was as a 21 year old. But, his slow start this season certainly hasn’t helped prove this point.
I’m not alone in noticing this slow start. A popular NBA twitter account with nearly 470,000 followers recently posted a simple question to its timeline: “Which NBA ‘star’ has underperformed the most this season?”
As you may have expected, one of the most popular answers was none other than Lakers star, Anthony Davis. Here are some of other people’s takes on Davis’ underwhelming performance this season.
As a Lakers fan i can say,AD
Besides one game against the Spurs and against the Bulls he has been pretty underwhelming this season
— Igor Damasceno? (@IgorDamascen18) January 30, 2021
I hate to say it but its AD. He just has dominated like we seen in the playoffs idk what's going on with him but he needs to turn up soon
— Terry Truss (@InGodITruss1) January 29, 2021
That ADisney dude
— Dee ?? (@SixersDee) January 29, 2021
“That ADisney dude.” While undeniably funny, the tweet does bring up a good point. Was Anthony Davis’ performance in the bubble a Disney magical moment? Certainly, there were players who seemed to completely transform into different people in the bubble, such as T.J. Warren or Jamal Murray. But is Davis genuinely one of them?
To put my thoughts plainly: no, Davis’ situation is not remotely similar to the other two names mentioned. In reality, Davis has a history of seemingly hitting the “on-switch” come playoff time.
In the 2015 playoffs, Davis out-performed his regular season averages by nearly eight points and three rebounds per game. In the 2018 playoffs, history repeated itself as Davis again out-played his regular season averages.
And when examining Davis’ college statistics and realizing his regular season averages were quite similar to his March Madness statistics, there’s really only one solution that explains Davis’ slow start this season: a lack of effort. However, for this year in particular, it’s hard to blame Davis.
The NBA offseason was a short one. Due to COVID-19, the final game of last season was played on October 11th of 2020. The first Laker game of the current season was December 11th. A two month “break” that left players completely unrested.
The proof is in the pudding. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have both had an amazing start to the season and are MVP contenders. What do they have in common? Neither of them played last season. In other words, they had nearly a year to rest!
Davis, on the other hand, is exhausted. He spent months in a hotel room and a relatively short time later was being expected to relive the experience all over again. Understandably, it may take time for Davis’ to recharge and return to his normal self. There’s also a slew of new complementary pieces around him.
But rest assured, come playoff time, Anthony Davis will show up and show out. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years about our favorite unibrow-baller, Davis can and will be the best player on the court when he needs to be.