The Lakers’ Anthony Davis claims the NBA Most Valuable Player title after the historic opener against the Warriors

Anthony Davis likely won’t make the All-NBA Team this season. After missing 26 games and being surprisingly overlooked as an All-Star, most of the momentum of the third-team All-NBA quarterback slot swung to Domantas Sabonis of the Sacramento Kings. Fittingly enough, they now have a common playoff opponent.

Draymond Green and Kevon Looney spent seven games defeating the Sacramento Stars. Sabonis saw his points, rebounds, and pass averages fall dramatically against Golden State’s inside duo. His field goal percentage fell from above . 600 in the regular season to below . 500 in the playoffs. The Warriors won Game 7 on the back of 13 offensive rebounds in the third quarter that Sabonis was powerless to block. He was powerless against Green and Looney on Sunday.

The roles were reversed on Tuesday. Green and Looney had absolutely no answers for the Los Angeles Lakers big guy. Davis became the second player in NBA history to finish a playoff game with 30 points, 20 rebounds, five assists and four blocks, joining Tim Duncan on that short list. He shot 90% from the floor in the first two quarters, becoming the first senior to do so with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a playoff game since tracking began in 1997.

The Lakers were so afraid of facing the Warriors without him that Davis played all 24 minutes of the second half. In the process, they handed the Warriors just their 13th home loss of the season. Davis was so dominant indoors that the Lakers managed to become the second team in NBA history to win a game in which their opponent made 20 or more three-pointers while scoring six or fewer. The first team to do so? Nor is the 2022-23 Lakers who beat the Mavericks on February 26 despite this deficit because Davis had 30 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. It was a historic inside defeat from Davis for the two players who had just committed a similar defeat to Sabonis.

Now, the idea that Anthony Davis is a better player than Domantas Sabonis is hardly groundbreaking. The comparison is there to serve a larger point. Throughout the season, Davis was ignored and underestimated. He has already proven, conclusively, that he is at least one of the three best centers in the NBA. In fact, it goes much further than that. With the NBA Most Valuable Player title seemingly vacant at the moment, why couldn’t Davis capture it for a potential championship?

Before we consider his candidacy, we have to set our terms here. Davis will never be an 82-game player. Durability has been, and always will be, a weakness. If you’re building a team from scratch, this is a reasonable excuse to avoid Davis. But there are 82 games left on the schedule. Davis is healthy in the here and now, and if the goal is to win the 2023 championship, he makes a strong case that it should be the pick. When the dust settles, there’s a real chance he’ll walk away with the allegorical, much-discussed title belt among the league’s elite.

The justifiable blow to Davis is that he is a designer of limited shots in the half field. This is a legitimate flaw, but every candidate in the field has one. Giannis Antikonmo, who was Almost unanimous choice For “world’s best player” status before being knocked out in the first round by the Miami Heat, he shares the same weakness. Joel Embiid just won the long-awaited MVP of the tournament, but the Brooklyn Nets held him to just 20 points for a 46.2% first-round lead. He is now dealing with a knee injury, which has caused him to miss games for the fifth time in his six trips to the postseason. The only exception? Four-game sweep of 2020 against the Boston Celtics. Previously winner of two MVP awards, Nikola Jokic is the group’s best offensive player. His defensive limitations were shown in his previous postseason losses, though one of them came against Davis. Both Jokic and Embiid could earn opportunities to face Davis later in the postseason if their teams continue to progress.

Stephen Curry is now getting his chance and, as Finals MVP, is the virtual owner of our virtual belt. It would be hard to bear losing Game 1 against him considering that 50-point Game 7 he just dropped to the Kings just two days earlier, but it’s worth noting that Curry made a 13-token 2 in that win. . He made just four attempts on Tuesday while missing his other seven attempts. He, like the rest of his teammates, was terrified of facing Davis over the edge.

This is the main point of his interest in these discussions. He can’t score with Curry, but the defensive gap between the two is immeasurable. This is not only true of him and Carey. This applies to him and everyone else in the field. Davis just faced Defensive Player of the Year in the first round, and he totally beat Garen Jackson Jr. Here’s how their defensive numbers compare in the first round:

Anthony Davis

Jackson years

He steals









Defensive rebounds



Disputed footage



Field goal percentage allowed



Then there is the sidekick argument. Davis isn’t even the most famous licker. As long as LeBron James is on his team, fans and pundits alike will struggle with the idea that this team belongs to Davis now. If James were healthy, this might not be the case. But the foot injury that nearly ended his season completely changed James’ way of playing. He’s averaged just over 22 points per game in the playoffs so far, the lowest average of his playoff career. Most of these picks aren’t individually created either. In the Memphis Series, he attempted just 2.3 shots per game off the rebound and 2.2 catches and turnovers. At his peak, he averaged 14 combined in the 2018 postseason. James can’t hold the Lakers now. The onus of doing so fell to Davies.

He never needed to do that for long as a Laker, a role he’s still adjusting to. He managed to average over 32 points per game for an entire month in the beginning of the season that James missed, but he got injured right after that. Yet, there are nights when the bird does not fall or a slight injury renders it fatal.

But the build we saw in Game 1 against the Warriors, a player we’ve seen for most of the Memphis series and whenever James got hurt in the regular season, was more than enough to lead the Lakers to the championship. This isn’t your typical Lakers super team either. His star is injured. His support team is young and several of his key players have just arrived in February. He has a first year head coach who was hired by a general manager whose fan base wanted him fired.

And none of it has mattered so far in the postseason because Davis has exceeded our wildest expectations. He is not a perfect basketball player, but there is no player on the field at the moment. Instead, each of the eight remaining teams has exceptional stars but flaws swinging around for the virtual belt. Davis is among those superstars, and he’s outshining them right now. If he continues to do so, he will emerge from the mound as not only the NBA Champion for the second time, but the MVP of the League for the first time.

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