Anthony Davis took his matchup with Joel Embiid seriously and, frankly, outplayed the current frontrunner for MVP on Thursday. Surely that would be enough to at least be competitive with the Philadelphia 76ers even without LeBron James, right?
Ah, well, nevertheless.
This week in the “Lakers Lounge,” Harrison Faigen and I had the only conversation about Davis that you’ll ever need to listen to. After we successfully ended any and all discussion about Russell Westbrook and who from the Lakers deserves the most blame for this travesty of a roster over the last few weeks, we figured we’d go ahead and take care of this for you, too.
We also let that discussion evolve into another look at a roster that, on a night where Davis clearly outplays Embiid, should at least be able to stay competitive, but simply can’t. Some of the issue was cold shooting — and certainly role players on the road will have nights like that — but guys like Westbrook and Talen Horton-Tucker just need to be better. Flat out.
The thinking at the time when this roster came together was that on some nights, LeBron James might be able to play a lesser role and still see the Lakers figure things out. Hell, the hope was that he might be able to take some games off altogether without things falling apart. Neither of those things have come to fruition and, on nights like tonight where more is asked of the first and fourth-highest-paid players, the team has fallen pretty far short.
It makes you wonder whether even if they’re at their best, Davis and James are enough to lift this very clearly flawed roster up to the heights it needs to if it is going to seriously contend for a championship. As it stands now, I don’t think so. But James has proven idiots like myself wrong for going on two decades now. This is just his latest chance.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.