Lakers: Even LeBron James thinks Anthony Davis is back

From the moment the team left Orlando in 2020, Lakers fans have been pining for the return of Babel Anthony Davis. An absolutely dominant force, AD dominated the game on both ends of the field and looked like the future star of the franchise.

Injuries and inconsistent play have plagued Davis since then, but his play in recent competitions has been something on par with Bubble AD. Sunday’s 30-point, 18-rebound performance in a win over the Spurs was the third in a row in which he scored at least 30 points and 15 rebounds, joining only Shaq Elgin and the Baylor Lakers to complete the feat.

All of this, with LeBron James missing due to injury, made it even more important for the Lakers. After the win this weekend, Davis spoke to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and discussed his conversations with LeBron about his latest play (The Focus Is Mine).

“Obviously when he’s out, or if you’re out, we take it upon ourselves as much as we can to fill that void,” Davis told ESPN when asked about his rise in James’ absence.

While the Lakers’ big guy deliberately took on more of the load to buy James more time to recover, he didn’t specifically plan it as payback for what James did last season.

“We didn’t talk about it. But he said I play like my old self, so I’m trying to get back into that rhythm,” Davis told ESPN about James’ remarks on him.

This current version of AD looks a lot different from Bubble AD in terms of gameplay. From a shot profile standpoint, 24% of AD shots during this qualifying round featured Cleaning The Glass as long mid-range jumps. By comparison, only 12% of his shots this season are long-range mid-range efforts.

Instead, Davis turned those long-distance attempts into attempts on the edge. During the title race, only 36% of his shots were on the edge. This season, 54% of his shots have been on the rim as he has fully embraced being an offensive center by deflecting shots he has faced in recent years and getting closer to the basket.

In a different kind of dominance than Davis, which makes her more impressive in some ways. Davis changed his playing style and got back in control.

Now, that’s only three matches against a full playoff run of bids, so it’s not really comparable. We’re a long way from saying AD is repeating his bubble runs, but that doesn’t mean he’s not playing at that level right now.

Unfortunately, given the status of this Lakers roster, they will need him to be a Bubble AD for most of the rest of the season in order for him to be competitive. It’s a daunting task, but AD has shown that he can still compete at a high level.

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