Looking at Anthony Davis’ Injury History

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With a minor thumb injury in pre-season and recent shoulder troubles, is Anthony Davis’ injury history a concern?

It could have been so much worse. During the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 2nd pre-season game against the Brooklyn Nets on October 12, Anthony Davis went to reach for the ball, a routine defensive play, however, in doing so his thumb was forced in an unnatural position causing Davis to grimace with pain. Luckily the injury was minor, and he returned after a few days.

In the Lakers’ recent regular season game against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 30, Davis left the game with an apparent shoulder issue, much to the worries of fans. But returned to drop a historic, record-breaking 40 point and 20 rebound performance, in a blowout victory.

However, with both short-lived debacles, it has left many fans of the purple and gold wondering about Anthony Davis’ previous injury history.

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Is Anthony Davis injury prone?

Upon looking at Anthony Davis’s injury history since he entered the league as the 1st overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, it is easy to jump to the conclusion and label him as injury prone.

Without a shadow of a doubt, you can look at the laundry list of injuries he has picked up during his time in the NBA. However, you only need to look at the roster in which Davis had around him to understand how he was able to pick up a multitude of injuries,

During his time with the New Orleans Pelicans, the best players Davis had at his disposal were Jrue Holiday and for one single season, DeMarcus Cousins. While both of these players are former All-Stars, the vast majority of possession went through Davis’ hands, an unusual request to ask of a big man.

With the ball being in Davis’ hands and so much being asked of him so young, Davis was asked to play a ridiculous amount of minutes since he entered the league. 

Each year he ranks in the top percentile of minutes played in the NBA which can lead to a higher probability of picking up an injury. He joins the likes of current teammate, LeBron James, on this list.

With James previously having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love in Cleveland, and Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami, it took a lot of the pressure off of his body, leading him to do his best work.

With a lighter load, a deep roster, and players like Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James, you are going to see Anthony Davis play with a lot less stress and strain on his body, you will see a player with a lot more energy and we will see a potential MVP caliber season from the 26-year-old superstar.

Another caveat to add is the hiring of Dr. Judy Seto to the Lakers staff. Dr. Seto is world-renowned in her field and was responsible for keeping Lakers legend Kobe Bryant on the floor during his illustrious career.

Having Dr. Seto available, as well as the Lakers being closely linked to UCLA medical center, gives the franchise some of the best resources to keep each player in top physical shape throughout the season.

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(Image/Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Will Anthony Davis ever complete a full NBA season?

As NBA fans, we expect superstars to play every single game, we want to switch on the game and see LeBron James and Anthony Davis for 82 regular-season games putting opposing teams to the sword. While this would be amazing to see, it just isn’t that realistic in this day and age.

In 2019, playing a superstar every game is more counterproductive than you think. All basketball fans should want one thing for their franchises and that is playoff basketball, and competing for the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Look no further than the 2015/16, 73-9 Golden State Warriors. A truly historic team that redefined excellence in the regular season.

Having beaten Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and the Chicago Bulls’ regular-season record, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that this team would go on to complete their historic season by lifting the NBA Championship trophy, capping off an unforgettable campaign. However, LeBron James and Co. had different ideas. The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Warriors in 7 games. 

The likes of Draymond Green and Steph Curry lamented that the strain of the regular season, and trying to break the regular-season record left them fatigued during their playoff run. Understandably so.

As long as Anthony Davis is a Laker, we shouldn’t want to see him play 82 games in a season. With the strength in depth the Lakers have in the forward positions, him or James should sit for back-to-back games. They both shouldn’t play significant minutes against lottery teams, and they certainly shouldn’t be playing every night of a long road trip.

The Lakers have enough depth across the roster to get to the playoffs without much exertion. The ideal scenario is having a fully healthy, and refreshed, LeBron James and Anthony Davis going into the postseason. Who can then give it everything to bring the purple and gold another championship banner. We don’t hang divisional banners.

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Is Anthony Davis the player the Los Angeles Lakers should build their future around?

Anthony Davis is one of the best players in the entire NBA, a top-tier superstar, one of the greatest defensive players the NBA has seen in a long long time, and an absolute monster on the offensive end, so….  absolutely he is the player the Los Angeles Lakers should build their future around post-LeBron James.

However, the purple and gold never rest on their laurels. You can bet that the day LeBron James is no longer a Laker is the day in which the purple and gold will be gunning hard for that 2nd superstar to join Anthony Davis. 

Early bets indicate that current MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the Laker’s top target to join Davis. There wouldn’t be a better duo. 

With Davis and Antetokounmpo, you get two of the best two-way players in the entire NBA, you get two of the most physically gifted players to enter the NBA since LeBron James, you get two unstoppable forces who can destroy you any way they see fit and you get two players whose games suit each other perfectly.

In Antetokounmpo, you get the ball handler who at nearly 7-foot tall can see over every defense and who drops dimes at an elite level. You get an unstoppable freight train in transition and you get a player who has that mean streak in him that will stomp on your throat and keep you down there.

In Davis, you get the most well-rounded power forward/center the NBA has seen since Tim Duncan. The brilliance of Davis is his ability to beat you from anywhere.

If you disrespect his game from beyond the arc, he will pull up in your face and drain the 3-ball. If you give him an inch on the perimeter, he will use his elite handles for a big man to embarrass and blow by with his speed en route to a monstrous dunk.

Now try and contain him in the paint. If you put one man on him, he is going to pick them apart with his vast array of advanced post moves, he can also pull this off with double-teams all over him. But for arguments sake, let’s say the double-team stops him from getting off his shot, he has the elite vision to pick out a player anywhere on the court for a wide-open shot.

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(Image/Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

Let’s not get started on Davis’ ability to finish in the pick-and-roll.

With all the hyperbole about Davis’ offensive capabilities, you might think that is his strong suit. Oh no-no-no. 

Where Davis is truly the elite of the elite, is on the defensive end. 

He is one of the best rim protectors in NBA history. You get a player who can lock down every single big man in the NBA and who is more than capable of locking down some of the best small forwards in the NBA also. 

Any player who brings the ball into the paint against Anthony Davis will have their shot swatted away, their shot altered, or will walk away from the encounter in considerable more pain than when they started.

Banging down low in the paint with Anthony Davis is like backing into a brick wall that won’t give. With his otherworldly length, Davis will alter every shot you take in his vicinity.

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If you think a LeBron James and Anthony Davis combination is going to be incredible. Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo would be a pairing for the ages as two players in the height of their powers coming together to decimate the rest of the NBA. For any Laker fans out there, pray that this comes true.

With Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers have a secure and prosperous future. The purple and gold have a player who when it is all said and done will be mentioned in the same breath as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Wilt Chamberlain. That’s rarified air. 

Here is hoping that Davis can bring a Championship to Laker land like the greats of old did before him.

By Jonathan Kiernan (@KiernanJonathan)

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