Considering the pure star talent and popularity of the Lakers roster, it’s understandable that players can get lost in the mix. LeBron James will always be the main attraction on a team likely until he retires. Russell Westbrook’s return to Los Angeles alone has drawn eyes to him, let alone his stature as one of the league’s most popular players.
Add in the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard and it’s not hard to forget a player like Anthony Davis lurking in the shadows. Davis has remained silent through much of the offseason — intentionally so — even despite the Lakers’ very loud offseason that saw them entirely reshape the roster.
At their best, the Lakers revolve around Davis, showcased in the playoffs in 2020. With Davis anchoring the paint on both ends of their floor, the Lakers were dominant. In similar fashion, when Davis was not at his best last season, the Lakers never hit top gear and sputtered out to end the season.
Coming into this season, Davis will look to re-establish himself as a leader of the team as he strives to make the Lakers his team this season, something he spoke about during media day on Tuesday.
“I think I have the capability of doing so,” Davis said of making the Lakers his team. “Now obviously we have a lot of great talent, Rondo is a great leader, LeBron, myself, Russ, Melo. And it takes a group for leadership. Now obviously I know, the guys have talked to me about ‘this is your team, we go as you go.’ Kind of the same thing that we did my first year here, but I think adding a couple guys, it makes that job a lot easier, where it takes a lot of stress and a lot of load off of one guy. Where we can have four, five, six guys that can do what they have to do to win basketball games.
“And at the end of the day we all have to sacrifice to reach our common goal, and that’s to win a championship.”
Since his arrival, Davis has been the Lakers’ leader on the defensive end of the floor. That leadership will need to continue to grow on both ends of the court as the Lakers, particularly so if he is to become the face of the franchise in the post-LeBron era.
All too soon, the Lakers will become Davis’ team outwardly and his role as leader will shift from an internal one to an external one. Until then, he’ll continue to dominate amidst a sea of storylines and popular players.