Though Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis is certainly considered to be one of the most talented players in the entire NBA when healthy, he also has earned a widespread reputation of being very injury-prone.
Not only has he missed a lot of games during his NBA career, but there have also been countless instances in which Davis has appeared to have injured something during a game only to come back later in the contest and continue playing.
While there is little denying that Davis is more injury-prone than the average NBA player, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne recently pointed out the interesting fact that since 2019, Davis has played in more games than Los Angeles Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 21, 2022
“I know that Anthony Davis has this reputation of not being available,” Shelburne said. “Charles Barkley calls him ‘Street Clothes.’ He’s played in more games in those years since 2019 than either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. Anthony Davis played 138. Kawhi played in 102, and Paul George played 133.”
It is an interesting point to be sure, but it is not as though George and Leonard do not also have a reputation of often being sidelined due to injury. The truth is that Davis arguably gets more flack than the other two because of the team that he plays on.
The Lakers are undoubtedly one of the most beloved teams in the NBA and also one of the most hated by fans of opposing teams. For that reason, everything that takes place in and around the Lakers organization is always under a bright spotlight. Surely, that attention was something that made the Lakers so attractive to Davis prior to him getting traded back in the 2019 offseason.
While Davis managed to remain healthy for the vast majority of the 2019-20 season, playing in 62 of the team’s regular season games and all 21 playoff games on the way to a Lakers championship, his availability has cratered since then.
In the 2020-21 season, Davis played in just 36 regular season games. He also ended up going down with an injury in the Lakers’ first-round playoff series versus the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had a 2-1 lead in the series, but Davis’ departure destroyed his team’s chances of getting through to the next round. The Lakers ended up losing their last three games of the season and were bounced in six games.
Last season, Davis barely improved his availability, playing in just 40 games. As Lakers fans know all too well, the team ended up missing the playoffs entirely.
Davis is absolutely going to try to overcome his reputation of being injury-prone in the upcoming season. If he can remain healthy for the majority of the season, the Lakers could really surprise some folks in the 2022-23 campaign.