NBA legend and analyst Charles Barkley believes that the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t going anywhere in the 2023-24 season unless big man Anthony Davis is an MVP candidate.
“If Anthony Davis is not an MVP candidate, the Lakers are not gonna go anywhere,” Barkley said during a podcast appearance. “… They got very lucky. They had a great draw in the playoffs. But if Anthony Davis is not an MVP candidate, the Lakers are not going to be close to winning a championship.”
It seems like Barkley believes that Davis needs to be L.A.’s top player over LeBron James in the 2023-24 season.
James is still playing at a high level, as he put up 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game last season, but the four-time champion is getting older and has had injuries keep him out of the lineup at times in recent seasons.
Davis has been great for the Lakers since being acquired prior to the 2019-20 season. He may, however, have to take another step for the team to make another deep playoff run. In four seasons with the Lakers, Davis has averaged 24.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field.
The Lakers made the Western Conference Finals last season, but they were swept by the Denver Nuggets. Denver went on to win the NBA Finals. Los Angeles is going to need to be better to get through the West in the 2023-24 season.
During the playoff run in the 2022-23 season, Davis averaged 22.6 points, 14.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He led the playoffs in both rebounds per game and blocks per game.
Those are impressive numbers, but Barkley may want to see more out of the former No. 1 overall pick when the 2023-24 campaign gets rolling.
The Lakers made some solid moves to improve their roster earlier this offseason, bringing back Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell while adding Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Cam Reddish.
With that extra help, there is no doubt that Los Angeles can be one of the best teams in the West, but Davis is going to need to continue to step up for the team to win a second title with him on the roster.