Anthony Davis came into the 2021-22 NBA season hoping to erase the memories of his disastrous prior campaign.
One year earlier he mustered a mere 36 games played en route to averages of 21.8 points (third worst of his career) and 7.9 rebounds (career-worst) per game.
Unfortunately, last season was more of the same for Davis. He played in just 40 outings and produced an only marginally better output: 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Many attributed his second straight unimpressive campaign to poor conditioning and him being in bad shape.
It appears Davis took that critique to heart.
This week, photos emerged of the Los Angeles Lakers big man looking noticeably slimmer:
SLIM ANTHONY DAVIS SIGHTING ✨ pic.twitter.com/3ewMaAcZOa
— 𝘾𝙤𝙖𝙘𝙝 𝙎𝙝𝙪𝙗𝙝 ⁶𓅓 (@OVOLakeShow) May 27, 2022
With social media being what it is, reactions to Davis’ new look came swiftly. They largely speak for themselves:
Top 5 big in the NBA next year
— Swipa (@SwipaCam) May 28, 2022
Ad bulked up for one season, and it was his worst and most injury plagued season, I’d like him not to repeat that.
— Trev (@Trev_xo) May 27, 2022
His most recently injured season he bulked up and gained weight and he was always hurt
— nothing (@VisionsRT) May 28, 2022
Oh great , now it’s an even greater chance of him getting hurt
— (@JrCurtisLarryl) May 28, 2022
Slim or big makes no difference, he will still play less than 50 games.
— Pablo (@mlambohh) May 28, 2022
Might be more fragile than ever https://t.co/3jWmU5UEwV
— Danny Phantom (@You_See_Ghostt) May 28, 2022
This is going to be a big year for Davis. Obviously he earned himself a certain degree of leeway by bringing a title to L.A., but that only buys you so much patience.
The trade talk got so loud, in fact, that Davis himself felt like he needed to address it.
That’s quite the workout. https://t.co/ZmhkF3qERb
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 28, 2022
Obviously if this new slimmer frame paves the way for a healthier and more productive NBA season, Davis will prove a lot of his critics wrong.
But if 2022-23 becomes a repeat of 2020-21 and 2021-22 – don’t be surprised if the trade talk surrounding him intensifies going forward.