When Anthony Davis was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers this past off-season, it seemed like a major coup for both sides. The Pelicans were able to get two young assets in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram while adding salary relief as well as giving them cap space to sign another marquee free agent. But with LeBron James now on board, the pressure is really on Luke Walton’s team not only because of their recent acquisitions but also because they are expected by many within the organization (and outside) to contend next season.

The “lakers news” is the latest in a long line of teams that have been trying to prove themselves as contenders. The Lakers are no exception, and their return ramps up the pressure on them to prove themselves as a contender.

Anthony Davis' Return Ramps up the Pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers to Prove Themselves as Contenders

The Los Angeles Lakers sent a big shockwave across the basketball world with one injury report on Monday afternoon. They’ve also moved the focus of criticism back to themselves now that their lineup is practically complete.

Anthony Davis — Probable, according to the last report.

That means the almost 7-foot superstar forward will almost certainly make his much-anticipated return to play on Tuesday night. As if basketball fans didn’t have enough cause to tune in to witness the Los Angeles Lakers take on the injury-plagued Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, they can also watch to see how successful the shot-blocking Davis is in his comeback. Basketball fans will undoubtedly be interested to see whether Davis’ comeback can help the Lakers return to their former glory.

In his return to the Los Angeles Lakers, how productive can forward Anthony Davis be?  

Anthony-Davis-Los-Angeles-Lakers-1024x682

Anthony-Davis-Los-Angeles-Lakers-1024x682 On December 9, 2021, Los Angeles Lakers star power forward Anthony Davis warms up before a game against the Memphis Grizzlies. | Getty Images/Justin Ford

For the first time since December 17, Anthony Davis will return to the court on Tuesday. Davis sustained a sprained MCL in his left knee in a 110-92 defeat to Minnesota that night. LeBron James was partially at fault for Davis’ injury when he pushed Minnesota player Jaden McDaniels, causing the Minnesota forward to fall back into Davis’ leg.

Davis’ season was summed up in that night, as he shuffled off to the locker room twice. Because he’s been in and out of the lineup so much, Davis’s effect has been less than normal. 

He has 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.2 steals in 27 games. Davis has been terrible from beyond the 3-point line, but shooting 52.1 percent overall (10 of 56).

If you look closely, Davis’ aggressiveness and activity serve as barometers for the Lakers’ success. He has averaging 24.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.6 blocks in 13 games this season. However, in the 14 defeats he’s had, he’s averaged 22 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game. The Lakers have averaged 109.9 points per game in their 27 games with Davis, but they have allowed 112.2 points per game. Davis has a minus-0.1 ratio in the 20 games he has missed.

Some think that Anthony Davis is no longer an elite player due to injuries.

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Anthony Davis’ days as one of the NBA’s most influential players may be numbered, particularly as he becomes more frail. The Lakers were a dreadful 16-14 when Davis sustained his last knee ailment, and they’ve been a forgettable 7-10 since then.  

Richard Jefferson, a former NBA champion and ESPN pundit, questions if Davis’ comeback will be significant enough to restore the Lakers’ relevance. After all, the Lakers have struggled offensively and defensively all season, and their consistency has been absent.

“Is there much of a difference between (LA’s) 13-14 with Davis and 10-10 without him?” On Monday, Davis inquired on ESPN’s NBA Today program. “Now, before everyone goes wild, I realize that LeBron missed a lot of time during that period, and they were dealing with injuries to (Talen Tucker-Horton) and (Kendrick) Nunn, who is still battling.” 

“They’ve had trouble keeping their whole lineup healthy, but can Anthony Davis be the answer?” Davis inquired once again. “It’s not like when you look at Giannis (Antetokounmpo) and the team’s record when he’s on the court.”

Jefferson then went back on his remarks, questioning if Davis is still considered one of the NBA’s finest players.

“We’ve spoken about Anthony Davis being a top-five player, a top-five talent for the past five years, and (wonder) when he’s going to elevate himself to be Defensive Player of the Year and MVP candidate?” Davis was perplexed. “Right now, he’s looking like a top-five big guy; he’s not even in the top-five at his position (power forward/center), because I’d place Giannis (Antetokounmpo) above him, (Joel) Embiid above him, and (Nikola) Jokic above him.” So, right now, he’s the fourth-best big man in the league, despite all of his skill and talent, and the fact that he’s won a championship.”

The return of Anthony Davis puts more pressure on a Lakers squad that has high expectations.

Anthony Davis, who has been out for almost a month due to an MCL injury, is expected to play against the Nets on Tuesday night in Brooklyn.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 24, 2022

GM Rob Pelinka was pressured by LeBron James and Anthony Davis to (rashly) deal for erratic point player Russell Westbrook before the season began. Many questioned if that mix of players could ever perform at a high level, particularly given the aging talent and lack of shooting options available to them.

While Davis was sidelined, the Lakers were given a pass, despite their 37-point defeat in Denver almost lost head coach Frank Vogel his job. Then, in a defeat to the Indiana Pacers, Vogel benched Westbrook for the last 3:52 of the game and never put him back in the game.

Now it’s up to the Lakers to show that teaming James, Davis, and Westbrook was the proper decision. Davis must first demonstrate that he can remain healthy for a lengthy period of time. Then he has to bring the attacking intensity and defensive activity that made him one of the finest two-way players in the game.

While Davis has been absent, James has virtually single-handedly carried the Lakers, scoring at least 25 points in 17 consecutive games. It’s his second-best streak of this kind in his career. But the 37-year-old James’ all-out efforts must be wearing him down, and it will be up to Davis to share some of the burden.

Westbrook, on the other hand, will now have to share the attention — and the ball — with two other high-usage players. Whether or if he is willing to make sacrifices for the team might determine the outcome of the season.

Davis’ comeback thrust the Lakers into the limelight, putting them under a lot of pressure. The Lakers might be a force in the Western Conference title race if Davis can remain healthy and prosper with James and Westbrook. If they fail, there will be further demands to derail a celebrity group that appeared doomed from the outset.  

For one thing, Richard Jefferson has his suspicions.

“Ultimately, (Davis) is one of the league’s top five big guys, and whomever adds that type of skill, there’s going to be an upgrade,” Jefferson said on ESPN’s NBA Today. “However, whenever he returns, the Lakers will have to conduct some soul-searching.”

ESPN.com provided all of the data. 

RELATED: For the Lakers to make the championship leap, Anthony Davis must turn back the clock and showcase the aggression of previous seasons.

The “lakers news today 2021” is a story that has been on the backburner for quite some time. Anthony Davis’ return ramps up the pressure on the Los Angeles Lakers to prove themselves as contenders.

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