As Anthony Davis gets set to begin the 2022-23 season, he’s ignoring the caustic barbs being directed at him by Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
“Yeah, I called him, ‘Street Clothes,’” Barkley told the Los Angeles Times. “I mean, I don’t know if he’s ever played 82 games. I mean, he’s been hurt more than he has played.”
Even though Davis was apparently annoyed by the shot from Barkley, he indicated that he’s focused on simply getting out on the court and doing his job.
“I don’t care what he says,” Davis said. “People say stuff for ratings. Like, they got to push their show, push their blog, push their podcast, whatever it is. So, people got to say something to bring in viewers. It is what it is. I go out there and play basketball and let them do their job. My job is to hoop. Their job is to talk about me.”
Barkley was accurate in stating that Davis has never played a full regular season since he was taken as the top overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. His high-water mark in that category is 75 games during both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.
That durable effort came during Davis’ seven-year stint as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. He was acquired by the Lakers in 2019 as the central piece of a blockbuster deal.
The trade paid immediate dividends for the Lakers, who went on to capture the 2020 NBA title. That victory ended a decade-long title drought for the team and offered the promise of more success.
In February 2021, the Lakers were again thriving. However, their hopes of capturing back-to-back NBA championships were dealt a severe blow when Davis went down with an injury.
Anthony Davis goes down grabbing his right ankle. He was helped off the court and headed straight to the locker room. pic.twitter.com/c60eXALIIl
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 17, 2022
As a result of the injury to Davis, the Lakers went from being prime title contenders to making a quick exit from the 2021 playoffs.
Last season proved to be even worse, despite the addition of guard Russell Westbrook in another blockbuster deal.
In the 2021-22 season, Davis was limited to just 40 games, one of the chief reasons why the Lakers failed to even compete in the playoffs. His absence magnified the fact that over the past two campaigns, Davis has only played in 76 regular season games for the Lakers.
Barkley constantly throws away any filter and directs blunt criticism when he feels it is necessary. That approach serves him well in his current analyst role, but has also gotten under the skin of players other than Davis.
Davis can’t change his past image, but him being healthy this season would go a long way toward getting the Lakers back into title contention.
That quest will begin Tuesday night when the team opens up the 2022-23 season on the road against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.