Despite vehement calls to the contrary, the Lakers have remained ardent in their plan to sit Anthony Davis on the second night of back-to-backs. In recent weeks, it has led to him sitting in a critical game against the Thunder that the team won, but also in a preventable loss to the Rockets.
It’s very much been a point of contention and raised some concerns about the team would handle the final back-to-back of the season. Coming in the final week of the season, and against two teams in direct competition for the play-in spots in the Clippers and Jazz, having Davis available feels imperative.
To that point, reports surfaced recently from Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report — someone generally well-connected with Davis and Klutch — that AD may in fact play in the back-to-back. On Tuesday following practice, head coach Darvin Ham was asked about that report and would not confirm what the team’s approach would be.
Darvin Ham wouldn’t confirm that Anthony Davis will be available for the Lakers’ back-to-backs against Utah and the Clippers in early April. He said the Lakers have a plan and are sticking to it.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 21, 2023
As much frustration as it has caused, the Lakers have probably made the right call specifically when it comes to resting Davis this season. It’s a practice they started before he suffered his stress injury, and it’s one they should have continued in the aftermath of it.
The whole point of resting him, though, is to have him available for the end of the season and the postseason. And the final back-to-back is both the end of the season and will be vital in whether they make the postseason.
Nothing should be held back at that point. Davis has said multiple times he prefers to play and is listening to doctors. There are too many reasons at that point in the season to play AD that it just doesn’t really make sense to sit him.
It does make some sense for the Lakers not to show their hand ahead of time if they’re looking for any sort of competitive advantage. If a team suspects they’ll rest AD, there’s no reason to give them weeks notice he’ll play. But the end result must be that Davis plays in both games of the back-to-back, no matter what the approach has been.
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