Undoubtedly, Anthony Davis is among the most talented big men in the NBA today. That sentiment is supported by the fact that except for his rookie season, he has averaged at least 20 points and between seven to nine rebounds per contest every year he has been in the league.
With that in mind, the Los Angeles Lakers and Davis recently agreed to a three-year extension, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The monetary value of the extension is $186 million (the richest annual extension in NBA history) and will keep Davis in Los Angeles through the 2027-28 season.
BREAKING: Lakers star Anthony Davis has agreed on a three-year $186M max extension, tying him to franchise thru 2028 for total of $270M-plus, @KlutchSports CEO Rich Paul tells ESPN. Davis lands richest annual extension in NBA history at $62M. pic.twitter.com/bf9kWgD7uz
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 4, 2023
That is some serious money, to say the least. On the heels of such a financial commitment, it is only fair that we delve into the positive and negative sides of this recent development.
So, without further delay, let’s examine what this move means for both sides.
When the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis via a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans back in 2019, they gave up a lot, and that is putting it nicely. First, they traded three players – Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. But the story does not stop there. The Lakers also gave up multiple future first-round picks as well.
Given the fact the team gave up so much to acquire Davis, the obvious question was whether or not he was capable of being the missing piece for a team that missed the playoffs before his arrival.
Anthony Davis Helps Lead The Lakers Win First Title In A Decade
In Davis’ first season with the Lakers, he compiled averages of 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per contest. He also shot an efficient 50.3 percent from the field.
And during the team’s playoff run, Anthony Davis was even more spectacular, with averages of 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds in 36.6 minutes per outing. Davis shot 57 percent from the field and he posted an above-average conversion rate of 38,3 percent from beyond the arc.
One of Davis’ memorable moments occurred in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers had taken Game 1 of the series but they trailed by a point (103-102) in the waning seconds of Game 2.
On the game’s final possession, Davis came off a curl from the free-throw line and find himself open for just a split second. And with the game on the line, Davis calmly delivered the game-winning shot, enabling the Lakers to escape with a 105-103 victory.
Davis finished the contest with 31 points, nine boards, and two blocked shots. The Lakers went on to win the series in five games. In that five-game set, Davis averaged 31.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per contest. But if Davis doesn’t knock down that shot, the series could have had a different outcome.
Following the Lakers’ 4-1 series win over the Nuggets, they faced off against the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals. Despite being short-handed, the Heat did not go away quietly. Ultimately, the better team emerged victorious, as the Lakers won the series in six games. The win gave the franchise its first NBA title in a decade. Davis averaged a double-double in that series with 25 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest. He also shot an astounding 42.1 percent from three-point range.
The fact that the Lakers won the title in Davis’ first year with the team was a signature moment. However, the narrative takes a turn for the worst after that championship season.
Anthony Davis’ Injury-Plagued 2020-21 NBA Season
During the 2020-21 campaign, Davis sustained an assortment of injuries. The list includes swelling around his right Achilles tendon. Although he missed just a couple of games with the injury, Davis re-aggravated the injury in a February contest against the Denver Nuggets. The injury forced him to miss the next 30 games.
Additionally, Davis sustained a groin injury in Game 4 of the Lakers’ first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. While he did return for Game 6, the Suns won the series finale 113-100. Overall, Davis suited up just 36 times for the Lakers that season. Davis averaged 21.8 points per outing —the second-lowest points-per-game total since his rookie season.
Anthony Davis’ 2021-22 NBA Season
Two months into the 2021-22 season, Davis was sidelined with a left foot injury. Although the recovery timeline provided by the team’s doctors was six weeks, Davis managed to return to the court in four weeks. Another injury-plagued season limited Anthony to just 40 games. He averaged 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in those 40 games. Unfortunately, the Lakers finished with a 33-49 record and missed the playoffs just two years removed from winning it all.
Anthony Davis’ 2022-23 NBA Season
In November 2022, Davis missed just one game due to a calf contusion. But a right foot injury (here we go again) put the Lakers’ star on the shelf for a month, resulting in a total of 20 games missed. Even in the postseason, Davis sustained shoulder and head injuries, during the team’s improbable run to the conference finals as the No. 7 seed.
To his credit, Davis put together some pretty solid numbers as he averaged 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, and two blocks per contest during the regular season. And in 16 playoff games, Davis averaged a respectable 22.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per contest. But it wasn’t enough to keep the Lakers from being swept by the eventual champion Denver Nuggets.
In the final analysis, Davis is an All-Star caliber talent when he is on the court. That fact is CANNOT be debated. On the flip side of the narrative, during his four seasons with the Lakers, the only year he played more than 60 games was the championship season back in 2019-20.
Out of a possible 328 games, Davis has suited up just 194 times during that stretch. This means he has played in just 59 percent of the Lakers’ games over the past four seasons. So, although Davis is a force to be reckoned with when he is healthy, it is reasonable to question if the Lakers made the right move in paying such a hefty price for this three-year extension.