The Los Angeles Lakers came into the season as one of the perceived favorites to win a championship.
Now, more than a third of the way through, it has become abundantly clear that folks were extremely overly-optimistic as it pertains to LA.
The Lakers are currently 16-14 through 30 games and sit sixth in the Western Conference.
One big issue for the purple and gold has been big man Anthony Davis. So far this season he is averaging just 23.8 points per game (his lowest since 2013 if you throw out last year’s injury-plagued campaign) and shooting an atrocious 17.9 percent from three. His 72.7 percent shooting from the free throw line is also a career low.
And that’s to say nothing of his non-stop injuries this year, though obviously LeBron James deserves blame for his most recent one.
This past week Shaquille O’Neal spoke about Davis on The Big Podcast With Shaq and justifiably called the Lakers star out.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 16, 2021
“[Russell] Westbrook ain’t the problem [for the Lakers],” he said. “Who’s the 1-2 punch on their team? So the last week, I saw some LeBron stats. I ain’t see no AD stats. That’s the problem right there.
“Listen, I speak from an experienced place. If you’re gonna be a 1-2 punch, be a hell of a 1-2 punch. Don’t let the 1, who’s the older of the 1-2 punch, take all the, you know, do this, do that. Listen, he’s very talented. He’s shooting 19 percent from the three. LeBron got Western Conference Player of the Week and had fun while doing it. What are you doing, Mr. AD? What are you doing? I ain’t seen your name mentioned all year. So if you’re gonna be a 1-2 punch, make sure you step up.”
It’s hard to argue with O’Neal’s assessment of the situation.
But he has yet to step up and handle business on his own.
Jake Paul and Julia Rose are going to extreme measures. https://t.co/ROTmOdoPsN
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 18, 2021
In order for the Lakers to have a realistic shot at a title this year they need Davis to step up. Whether or not he will ultimately be able to do that remains to be seen, though.