Starting with the In-Season Tournament championship, Anthony Davis has been playing his best basketball of the season.
He put up season-highs in both points and rebounds against the Pacers with 41 and 20, respectively, followed that up with a 37-point, 11-rebound night against the Dallas Mavericks and then gave the San Antonio Spurs 37 points and 10 rebounds to secure the road win without his partner in crime LeBron James.
The analysis of Davis' game-to-game performance can be overly critical and exhausting, but the most common complaint is his offensive production. Everyone acknowledges him as an elite defender, but every time his offensive production wanes, the sirens sound and the chatter of his lack of aggression begins again.
TWENTY-FOUR points from Anthony Davis are the most by a Laker in a half this season pic.twitter.com/hpFioQR3CU— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 14, 2023
After the win, where Davis made the final defensive stop, preventing the Spurs from attempting a game-tying three, Austin Reaves talked about how important Davis is to the Lakers' offense.
"An offensive possession is never a bad possession when we give AD the ball,” Reaves said. “We shouldn't have had to learn it. His body of work his whole career has basically proven that. But I feel like that's something that we've learned is any time we can give him the ball anywhere on the court against anybody, we like our chances because he's such a skilled player. With the force he's playing with right now, it's beautiful to see. I don't know what everybody else thinks, I want him to keep doing the same thing. He doesn't need to defer to anybody. He needs to just go be him."
Whenever Davis has a game where he scores below his season averages, the guards are asked about his performance. Reaves and D'Angelo Russell often stress their responsibility to feed Davis the ball and ensure he stays involved in the offense. With Russell having 10 assists and Reaves having seven off the bench, they did a great job making Davis the focal point in lieu of James' absence.
Davis' 38.3 points per game over the last three games is unsustainable, but maybe he's found a groove he can continue to build on throughout the rest of December and beyond.
All offseason, the conversation was about this being Davis' team and him being the best player on the Lakers and the face of the franchise. The first 20-plus games didn't represent that, as it still felt like a LeBron James team like any other team James has been a part of.
However, if he can bring in close to this kind of production, that might change and Davis could be heading towards not just a Defensive Player of the Year Award but joining the MVP conversation as well.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.