LeBron James and Anthony Davis have only played in 21 games together this season. The Los Angeles Lakers are 11-10 in those games, with LeBron averaging 25.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists and Davis putting up 21.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
LeBron and Davis have missed time this season due to injuries. As a result, the two superstars haven’t been able to develop the same chemistry they had in 2019-20 when the Lakers won the championship over the Miami Heat in six games.
Barring a miraculous turnaround, the Lakers will be in the play-in tournament this year, although it’s worth mentioning they are two games away from falling out of the play-in tournament altogether after losing to the Dallas Mavericks on March 1. Davis is currently out with a right mid-foot sprain and the Lakers announced on February 17 that the Chicago native will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
If Los Angeles makes the play-in tournament and wins its games, it will qualify as the seventh or eighth in the 2022 playoffs. Davis could be back for the play-in tournament and playoffs, and if that happens, some of the Lakers’ rivals believe the team could be a tough out.
Rival Teams Believe Lakers Could Be Threat in Playoffs
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Lakers and rival personnel believe the purple and could be a major player in the postseason if LeBron and Davis are healthy.
“The Lakers still hold championship aspirations this season,” Fischer wrote. “Los Angeles personnel maintain that if they can reach the playoffs, the healthy combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis is still enough to threaten all comers for the Western Conference crown. Some rival teams have echoed that sentiment as well. If the Lakers fail to advance beyond the play-in tournament, changes within the franchise are surely on the horizon.”
LeBron is averaging 28.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists this season. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in playoff points and has postseason averages of 28.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists. Even though the King is 37 and in his 19th campaign, he’s still incredibly hard to beat in a best of seven series.
The last time LeBron and Davis were healthy in the playoffs, the Lakers won the title. Davis, though, hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy. He got hurt in Game 4 of the Lakers’ first-round matchup against the Phoenix Suns last year and Los Angeles wound up losing the series 4-2 after taking a 2-1 lead.
It will be interesting to see if Davis returns this season from his foot injury. If he does and the Lakers make the play-in tournament and advance to the playoffs, the Nos. 1 or 2 seed in the West will have to face LeBron and Davis in the first round and that’s no cakewalk.
A Healthy LeBron-Davis Combo Is Lethal
When LeBron and Davis are both healthy and in rhythm, they are arguably the best duo in the NBA. The Lakers are 75-32 since 2019-20 when LBJ and AD are in the lineup. That’s good for a winning percentage of .701.
Los Angeles went 16-5 in the 2020 playoffs when it won the championship. LeBron and Davis were healthy and put up spectacular numbers. The former averaged 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists, while the latter averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
The numbers show that LeBron and Davis take their games to another level in the playoffs. So if the Lakers can stay in one of the four play-in spots and advance to the postseason, they could possibly make some noise since they have two of the best players in the NBA.