The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of vying for a second consecutive NBA title after limping through the season due to significant injuries. The Lakers’ shortcomings set up a pivotal offseason, and considerable changes may lie ahead. With that in mind, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson believes there is one significant adjustment Anthony Davis must make.
Anthony Davis struggles to work through injuries
Davis’ first season with the Lakers played out exactly how he hoped by leading the franchise to capture an NBA title.
He played a critical role in guiding Los Angeles to its first playoff berth in seven years, along with earning the Western Conference No. 1 seed for the first time in a decade. However, Davis couldn’t replicate that success this past campaign as he struggled through injuries.
The 28-year-old dealt with nagging ailments throughout the early goings of the regular season, leading to him suffering an Achilles-related calf injury in February that forced him to miss two months. Davis returned to action for the final two weeks of the season, but the injury bug cropped up again in the playoffs.
He suffered a groin injury in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Phoenix Suns. It sidelined him for the following contest, and he managed to play only five minutes in the Game 6 loss that sent the Lakers to an early postseason exit.
The star big man and his team now head into a critical offseason geared toward returning to championship contention. With that in mind, a former Lakers great has one notable suggestion for Davis moving forward.
Magic Johnson believes Lakers superstar Anthony Davis must make a single significant change next season
The Lakers‘ early playoff exit quickly shifted the front office’s mindset heading into the offseason.
Injuries played a significant factor toward influencing the disappointing outcome, all likely leading to some notable changes before the 2021-22 campaign. During a recent interview on ESPN‘s Keyshawn, JWIll & Zubin radio show, Magic Johnson outlined that Davis playing more at the center position is also a much-needed adjustment moving forward.
“Give LeBron and AD a shooter,” Johnson said. “And also, tell AD he’s going to have to play more center now. You can’t allow him to say, ‘Hey, man, I don’t want to play center.’ No, no, no, no, no. First of all, you’re with the Lakers and we’re trying to win. And for me, I would move LeBron back down; we’re asking him to do too much. You can’t ask LeBron to be the point guard.
“That means you’re working hard, you’re bringing the ball up, getting everybody into the offense, so when can LeBron rest? You have to understand we want LeBron fresh for the playoffs. So let somebody else bring it to him.”
Throughout much of Davis’ career, he’s been reluctant to play at center due to the physical demand created by going against opposing big men. Nevertheless, the 28-year-old has been open to operating there in extended stretches, especially during the playoffs. However, it’s not a position he wants to play in a significant capacity due to the physical wear and tear on both ends of the floor.
Johnson isn’t voicing that Davis needs to switch positions entirely, but he can see the advantages the star big man has when he plays at center due to his skillset. It’s all up to the eight-time All-Star having a willingness to take on a grander role playing in the spot.
Health must also be a priority this offseason
Another area Davis must address is his approach to his health as he’s struggled with durability throughout his NBA career.
The 28-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries that have prevented him from exceeding 70 regular-season games more than twice through his first nine years. The eight-time All-Star is in his physical prime, making the health problems that much more troublesome.
Davis will have this upcoming offseason to focus on his health and get his body right before the 2021-22 campaign. He will have a more extended layoff to rest and work into a routine that is better suited to keep him healthy and durable.
All in all, it’s also a pivotal next few months for Davis if he hopes to guide the Lakers back into championship contention.