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Is next season the most important of Anthony Davis’ career?

Anthony Davis is seen as the heir apparent once LeBron James leaves the Lakers one way or another. Is he ready?

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Only two seasons and less than two years ago, if you asked any Lakers fan how they felt about LeBron James’ departure meaning that Anthony Davis would be the centerpiece of the next era, the vast majority would say, “yeah, sure. That makes sense.”

73 games and multiple injuries later, ask those same fans that same question. I somehow think everyone’s confidence in the idea has waned considerably.

This week on “The Anthony Irwin Show,” I welcome my old pal and colleague Jake Madison of “Locked On Pelicans” to try to figure out where Davis goes from here. Whether Davis returns from his mid-foot sprain in time to salvage some semblance of respectability from this season or not, it feels as if he’s hurtling towards the most important year of his career next season.

Look, generally speaking, I think the way people talk about his injuries is at best stupid, and at worst gross. This season, he’s had Jaden McDaniels crash into his knee and came down on Rudy Gobert’s foot, yet based on how he gets talked about, you’d think he suffered career-ending injuries doing his taxes.

Still, though, even before this year’s first injury and last year’s series of them, Davis hasn’t been the all-world superstar fans would’ve happily trusted with the future of the franchise. The will-he, won’t-he game of where he might start or finish or whatever combined with him shooting 22% from three (laughable even by center standards, let alone the position he wants to play) has frankly become more tiring than his lengthy stints on the sidelines.

LeBron James’ body is clearly not going to allow him to carry the burden of an entire organization the way it has for two decades now. The Lakers are going to have to start figuring out what comes next. Whether that happens once James departs via retirement or free agency is a different conversation altogether, but who comes next feels like the more daunting question.

Jake and I discussed this, the possible Lakers-Pelicans matchup in the play-in, how the city of New Orleans has enjoyed this Lakers season, and any similarities between the Zion Williamson situation and the lead up to Davis asking for a trade a few seasons ago.

You can listen to the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

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.