Looking ahead to next season, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Jared Dudley believes that teammate Anthony Davis is poised to take over the mantle of leadership from LeBron James next season.
Dudley spoke about the 2021-22 edition of the Lakers during his exit interview with the media and noted the inevitability of Davis becoming the team’s central component.
“We salute him (James),” Dudley said. “People say he’s slowing down, and it’s natural to slow down a little bit. That’s why you have Anthony Davis. That’s where he has to take the torch, and that’s where he will take the torch next year.”
Davis will have a full offseason to rest up after seeing much of the final three months of the 2020-21 campaign wiped out because of injuries.
James turns 37 at the end of December and while he continues to deliver an outstanding all-around game, the Lakers are well aware at some point that Davis needs to establish himself as a true leader.
When healthy, Davis can be difficult to handle on the court, but being a leader requires a steady flow of communication with teammates.
James has done that during his 18 seasons in the NBA, which has resulted in four NBA titles and 10 conference championships.
At 28, Davis still has a great deal of time to build on his first title that he won last year. Over the course of his career, he was seen as a franchise player for the New Orleans Pelicans, though he’s endured criticism about his level of toughness.
One way for Davis to eliminate such a belief next season is to lead the Lakers to another championship.