NBA

Anthony Davis and Lakers’ Legend Kobe Bryant Are Connected in an Unexpected Way

On Aug. 3, 2020, the LA Lakers defeated the Utah Jazz to clinch the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. One player that has helped the Lakers become a dominant team is Anthony Davis.

Ever since he arrived in LA, Davis has proven why he’s one of the best players in the league. In the team’s win over the Jazz, Davis joined Lakers’ great Kobe Bryant in the record books.

Anthony Davis becoming a top player in the NBA

The former No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft has become one of the best throughout his career. During his rookie season, Davis had to learn to adjust to the NBA game. He averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. The next season his numbers improved, and you could tell that he made adjustments to his game. He became more of a scorer, and he continued to be a threat on the defensive side. He made the All-Star for the first time in his career in 2014, and he’s played in the All-Star game ever since.

During Davis’ seven years in New Orleans, he became the franchise player. Though the team didn’t have much success, Davis continued to prove why he was one of the best big men in the game. One area that he needed to improve on was his mid-range and long-range shooting. After some tweaks in his form early in his career, Davis improved his shooting. Now you have a big man who can dominate in the paint and out on the perimeter—a tough task for most defenders trying to guard Davis.

Davis played some of his best basketball during the 2017-18 season. He averaged a career-high in points per game with 28.1, and he shot 34 percent from deep, which was a career-high. He also led the league in blocks for the third time in his career with 2.6 per game. Davis was getting better and better while his team was not performing at a high level. It was time for Davis to join a team that could compete for an NBA title.

Anthony Davis teaming up with LeBron James in LA

In the summer of 2019, Davis decided to team up with James out west. The Pelicans agreed to trade Davis to LA in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks in the 2019 NBA draft. Adding Davis to the team gave the Lakers a good chance at competing for that title.

In his Laker debut, Davis put up 25 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists against the LA Clippers. With Davis on the team, James does not have that pressure to take over games because he has another superstar. Through 58 games, Davis is averaging 26.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He is in the race for Defensive Player of the Year. James and Davis are arguably the best duo in the NBA and have put the Lakers in a good position to play for a title.

Anthony Davis honored to be in the same category as Kobe Bryant

When the Lakers defeated the Jazz on Aug. 3, Davis finished with 42 points and 12 rebounds. His 42 points led all scorers. In the first half, Davis scored 23 points, which were the 20th time that he scored 20 or more points in the first half during the 2019-20 season.

That made him the first Lakers player to do that in a season since Bryant did it during the 2012-13 season. Davis also has five 40 or more-point games, and he has the most 40-point games by a Laker in a season since Bryant’s eight during the 2012-13 season. During a post-game interview, Davis told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols how he felt about joining Bryant in the record books.

“I just got chills. … to be in a category with [Kobe Bryant], I know he’s looking down on us and cheering us on, so we want to do it for him,” Davis said. Now that the Lakers have clinched the top spot in the west, Davis can focus on the playoffs and get ready to perform at a high level.