Before requesting a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers just days before February’s trade deadline, Anthony Davis was the only player in the NBA ranked in the top-five in points per game, rebounds per game and blocks per game. In the season before that, Davis finished the season ranked in the top-five in points per game and led the league in blocks per game.
Next season, Davis will team up with four-time league MVP and three-time NBA champion LeBron James, and no one is more excited about it than they are.
At Lakers media day on Friday, James and Davis weren’t coy about how much they’re looking forward to finally playing with each other this season, and not just because of what they’re capable of on the court. During James’ press conference, he said that the Lakers are lucky to have a young player that is as level-headed and determined as Davis is.
“I was very excited,” James said of learning the Lakers acquired the 26-year-old All-Star. I know the kind of player AD is, not only from a basketball standpoint but also from a leadership standpoint ... Rob and them upstairs did what they had to do to acquire a talent and person like AD.”
“It’s exciting to have such a beautiful young mind and beautiful player, but also a great leader as well,” James continued. “I think it’s a great opportunity for this franchise to have such an all-around person.”
Davis’ endorsement of James had more to do with basketball, but he was appreciative of the things his new teammate said about him, and thinks that their shared eagerness to win at the highest level will bring out the best in each other.
“I’m excited just to get started. I can’t wait until tomorrow, to be around these guys and know that we are going to be a step closer to tipping it off for real. I’m excited about that opportunity to work with this coaching staff,” Davis said. “What LeBron said was very kind of him. We’re going to feed off each other tremendously. I think we’re two guys that are very selfless and just want to win, and when you have two guys like that, it makes both of our jobs a lot easier.”
Davis also believes that he and James’ shared willingness to distribute the ball will be crucial to not just their individual success, but the team’s overall fortunes this season.
”I think it opens up opportunities for other guys. He’s always been a guy that commanded double teams, and he’s also a great passer out of double teams, so I think by him commanding double teams it will open my game up a lot, a lot of one-on-one and single-coverage defenses,” Davis said. “It puts the defense in a bind when you have two guys you have to worry about every time down the floor.”
In an interview with Spectrum SportsNet, James shared the same sentiment.
“We just complement each other so well because we’re just two selfless guys. It’s all about the team, and we’re two guys that care so much about our teammates being successful.”
James and Davis have played with some talented players in their career — James especially — but they’ve never played with players like each other before, mostly because they’re both so unique. That could result in a few road bumps in the beginning, but once they figure it out, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish together.
Just 25 more days until we get to watch them try.