When the Cleveland Cavaliers drafted LeBron James with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Anthony Davis was 10 years old. By the time Davis was drafted in 2012, James was already an eight-time All-Star, a two-time league MVP, an NBA champion and Finals MVP.
Eight years later, James, in his 17th season in the NBA, is still in the MVP conversation, and before the Los Angeles Lakers took the court for practice on Tuesday, Davis made the case for his teammate, and, for him, it starts with the things James is doing at the age of 35.
“I mean, he’s playing probably one of his best best years,” Davis said. “We’re the top team in the west, the things he’s able to do on the floor — especially when everybody was saying he was washed, he he should hang it up and all this things. Then he comes back with a with a dominant performance. And then just to be even in the race you know at this at this point of his career.
“For me, to see it every night, the things he do on a consistent basis, not in stretches of three games here, four games here. He does it every night. He’s been doing it his whole career. I think it’s a good argument for him to be MVP.”
James isn’t the only player on the Lakers that’s in the conversation for a regular season award, though. Davis, a three-time block champion and All-Defensive team honoree, is among the favorites to win Defensive Player of the Year this season after finishing in the top-three in voting at the end of the 2017-18 season.
When Davis was asked about his own award case, he gave an answer that was less long-winded.
“I don’t have a case,” Davis said. “I let my teammates decide and the fans decide, but I just go out there and play hard every night. My biggest impact that I think I have is defensively. I love playing defense, I love stopping other players, making it tough on other players, so that’s my case in a nutshell.
“But I’m pretty sure coach has some good things, and I’m pretty sure if you guys ask LeBron he’ll have a whole list for you guys. I just go out there and try to be great and lead my team on the defensive end, and the guys get better each and every night.”
Frank Vogel didn’t talk about Davis’ case for Defensive Player of the Year specifically, but he did say he thinks Davis can continue to make his case as the league’s best two-way play while the Lakers are in Orlando.
“The potential for Anthony Davis has always been that there’s really no ceiling with what he’s able to do,” Vogel said. “He has been very resilient, playing through injuries for us this year. I think that’s been a big growth point for him. I think Lebron’s influence has weighed in there. But if he stays healthy, then the sky’s the limit. He can dominate the game on the defensive end of the floor, on the perimeter, at the basket rebounding. And then there’s nothing he can’t do offensively as well. So, you know, hopefully we continue to gel as a team and see him reach that potential.”
Voting for the NBA’s regular season awards will take place from July 21-28, and the results will be announced during the playoffs, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. Hopefully the Lakers don’t come up empty-handed.