The Los Angeles Lakers fell disappointingly short of a successful NBA title defense after bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Star forward Anthony Davis’ injuries played a significant part in the Lakers‘ shortcomings. With that in mind, Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett didn’t mince his words regarding Davis’ training routine.
Anthony Davis and Lakers fall short in the playoffs
The Lakers‘ title defense didn’t pan out as planned due to injuries derailing their repeat hopes.
Los Angeles started the 2020-21 season among the Western Conference’s best teams, but the injury bug quickly took its toll. Davis struggled to find his footing through the early goings, leading to him suffering an Achilles-related injury in February.
It forced him to miss the next two months while LeBron James suffered a high-ankle sprain in late March that sidelined him for more than a month and a half. The pair of star players returned before the regular season ended, but neither shook off injuries to return to playing at an elite level.
The Lakers’ injuries, combined with the lack of consistent contributions from the supporting cast, led to a first-round playoff exit against the Phoenix Suns. As Los Angeles heads into the offseason, a Hall of Famer recently blasted Davis over his training regimen.
Kevin Garnett calls out Anthony Davis’ training: ‘Whatever he’s been doing in the last 10 years is not working’
A significant part of the Lakers’ playoff downfall lies with Davis’ health issues.
The 28-year-old limped through this past season, dealing with nagging injuries that never allowed him to regain his form. During an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday, Kevin Garnett voiced that Davis needs to change his entire training routine to avoid lingering ailments.
“He has to take another level of improving his body,” Garnett said. “Let’s just keep this real. LeBron came to LA not to leave out the league on a great note with a great establishment like the Lakers. He wanted to play with someone with a younger version of [someone extremely talented]. Similar to what Dwyane Wade did with him in Miami. AD is in LA to continue the legacy. The championship legacy and the spirt, and right now he’s not doing that.
“He has to go to another level with his body and training. Whatever he’s been doing in the last 10 years is not working. He should not be out of shape during the regular season. I don’t understand that one.”
Throughout Davis’ NBA career, he’s dealt with nagging injuries that prevented him from topping 70 regular-season games more than twice in his first nine seasons. The eight-time All-Star should be in his physical prime, making the health issues that much more frustrating.
Although Garnett played in a different era, he certainly knows a thing or two about durability. He played fewer than 70 regular-season games only twice in his first 16 NBA seasons and played more than 80 eight times during that span while participating in all 82 contests four times.
Garnett’s comments are blunt, but there clearly needs to be massive changes to Davis’ training regimen to get the most out of his tremendous talent.
Lakers hold a busy offseason ahead
Beyond Davis needing to improve his training and health routine, the Lakers need considerable changes to return to NBA title contention.
The supporting cast around Davis and James didn’t pick up the slack. Instead, players such as Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, and Andre Drummond struggled to be game-changing factors. Los Angeles also had issues shooting from beyond the arc, further underlining the need for a roster change.
The front office will be busy despite the limited salary-cap space and resources to make any significant signings or trades. The Lakers will have several players such as Schroder, Drummond, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, and Markieff Morris hitting the free-agent market.
It all sets the table for what should be a highly intriguing offseason ahead.