If the Lakers front office is still in data compilation mode before they make a decision on how or whether to improve this roster, then a matchup against one of the league’s best teams and its best player should surely go a pretty long way in convincing them to put an end to the inactivity that has defined them dating back to last trade deadline.
Friday evening, the Lakers will face off in Milwaukee against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (who will also reportedly have Khris Middleton back from injury as well). In their last few matchups, Giannis has vastly outplayed Anthony Davis, but this is easily the best the latter has played since the 2020 bubble and if he wants to convince his front office to get him more help, tonight would be a great night to buck that trend.
Also of interest will be how LeBron James handles tonight’s game. As frustrated as he probably he is that his incompetent front office would have the gall to demand competency in order to make the moves necessary to compete, that is just the situation he finds himself in. An ugly loss to Milwaukee on national tv will on further prove why Pelinka might be right not to believe in James and Davis as a championship-capable duo.
I might argue that it makes more sense to give James and Davis more capable players specifically for matchups like this and making them prove they are worthy of more help with a substandard roster is backwards but hey, what do I know.
Davis does have to play better in this matchup than he has though. In two games against Milwaukee last year, he averaged only 18 shot attempts per game and only five free-throw attempts. The Lakers will need him to be a lot more aggressive than that tonight. Given the potential implications involved because of the front office’s approach, Davis’ engagement level might help define what the rest of the year looks like.
I spoke to Aaron Larsuel about this, an, um, interesting night on Twitter that I will not offer more details on in this post, and continued what has felt like a year-long-plus conversation about what the Lakers need to do to merely give James and Davis a chance at title competition.
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.