Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Bryant, Smith

Anthony Davis, the Lakers‘ prize addition last offseason, may be on the verge of winning the Finals MVP award, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. L.A. is getting the type of production from Davis that it envisioned when it sent a package of young talent to New Orleans to acquire him in June of 2019.

Davis turned in a dominant performance in Wednesday’s Game 1 with 34 points — the fourth-highest total by any player in his Finals debut since the merger — along with nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He followed that with 32 points and 14 rebounds Friday night.

“He’s damn near playing like the best player in the game,” said teammate Rajon Rondo. “Hands down. I’m very fortunate he’s on our team this year.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Fans who remember the uneasy relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal don’t have to worry about a repeat with Davis and LeBron James, Medina adds in the same story. James, who played a role in convincing Davis to seek a trade to L.A., told reporters last night that there’s no jealousy between the two stars. “We want the best, seriously, every single day, both on and off the floor, for one another,” he said. “We’re just not jealous of one another. I think that you align that with respect, I think the sky’s the limit.”
  • Long before he joined the Lakers, Davis received valuable lessons from Bryant, notes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Davis was only 19 when he earned a spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, where Bryant took him under his wing. They stayed in touch regularly over the years, but Bryant never made a sales pitch to try to get Davis to the Lakers.
  • J.R. Smith hasn’t seen much court time in the playoffs, but he may have an increased role if Danny Green‘s hip remains a concern, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times“Danny was battling a hip injury, and you know, he and KCP (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) were playing well, but were struggling a little bit from the perimeter,” coach Frank Vogel said after Game 2. “So was just looking to see if we can buy a few minutes with J.R. because of Danny’s injuries, and obviously he carries that threat to knock down a three or a few threes. I just like the threat of him being out there against the zone.”
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20 thoughts on “Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Bryant, Smith

  1. DeathbyDeathwest

    Are the Lakers more likely to bring everyone back, or see who they can get for Kuzma + Green?

      • x%sure

        GM Griffin already had a shot at Kuzma and preferred another distant first. Ego-wise I doubt he can okay that trade.

        Kuzma may be best as a middle- court player but is he good enough to pull out of the corners and rely on him to create without turnovers?

    • phillyballers

      They’ll deal Kuz and Green. Cook and THT’s contracts give them 23.3M to deal and 32.2M if they added McGee and Bradley (think they keep these 2).

      Rondo will opt out and get paid, not sure what KCP will do.

      Some names people have tossed out there – Bradley Beal (top of the wish list), Zach LaVine, Jrue Holiday, Victor Oladipo, Evan Fournier.

      They could end up with Dipo/LaVine and still retain McGee, KCP, and Bradley. Team will be pretty formidable next year. Also could see one or two of Boogie, Jeff Green, Gasol, a Morris brother, Matthews, Augustin, coming in on the vet min.

      • x%sure

        It worked for the S&L industry, combining low performers and selling it New York. But while Wall St might do it, the Knicks will say no, much less Bulls or Pels.

        • Michaelchavez22

          What about Cristian Wood (S&T), Bruce Brown and Rose for Green and Kuzma?? Wood comes back home and Kuzma goes back home.

  2. Noel1982

    I had my doubts beforehand but now expect Davis to accept the full five year max extension ( 3 years min ) with the Lakers ! He wanted to go there and everything worked out great for him and them they can recruit anyone they want to join as well when they are good

  3. GoLandCrabs

    The Lakers put Anthony Davis a top 5 player in the world, on the same roster as the #1 player in the world and people seriously doubted them coming into the season.

    • washington_bonercats

      Yeah because you need more than 2 guys to play minutes. When your next best player is Alex Caruso you might have problems. Had PG showed up to the bubble LA would still be playing in the finals, just not the Lakers.

      • Lakers1

        Lakers beat the clippers last 2 times they played and games 1 and 2 were tied going in 4th.. clippers are way overrated.. how many players clippers had that have been to playoffs let alone had success in playoffs?

      • Noel1982

        Paul George never shows up in the playoffs it was a given ! Clippers have no chance at a title if pg13 is the co star

        • Noel1982

          Also Lou willams is better then rondo only in the games that don’t really matter

      • GoLandCrabs

        Had Paul George showed up, had Kawhi showed up, had Lou Williams not gone to the club for wings, had Montrez Harrell and Lou Williams not disappeared, had Morris/Zubac/Beverley actually made the impact they were supposed to the Clippers would have beat the Nuggets and went on to lose to the Lakers in 6. Nothing but excuses for the failed flawed team you hyped up for the last year.

        • Otogar

          I tend to think there are a number of coaches who could have led the Clippers to the title this year (and Ballmer seems to agree).

          • Noel1982

            It was always take the field over the clippers always ! Next year double down on the field over the clippers easily

            • Noel1982

              But of course ballmer thinks his neat lil team could have won it all to put it together it cost him everything in Money and draft picks for wayoff pandemic pee a star who never shows up big and never will ! Somebody had to pay and now he will hire lue and find that without peak lebron lue is even worse then rivers

      • x%sure

        Reality happens bonercats. It’s a bit early for unlikely what-ifs.
        Only two stars are needed, and the Clips were a jumbled mess and lost. PG generally does not get far.

        Caruso and Rondo were better off on offense and getting minutes without Avery Bradley.

  4. imindless

    Lakers are gonna get better this offseason. Ad and bron trying to make a dynasty here in la. Expect clippers and others to get better to try and unseat lebron so you can expect next years roster to look even better

  5. Lakers1

    Ive lost a lot of faith in kuzma.other team seems to always make a run when he’s in there. I hope they trade him.. he has really regressed on winning team or losing masked the dumb mistakes he makes.. Markieff is better defender and better 3 pt shooter.. also better rebounder..

  6. x%sure

    Kuzma had an on/off of zero in the RS, and minus9 in the playoffs, while a new Markieff goes from minus15 in limited minutes to plus4 with a 45% 3pt%. Kuzma is a slightly better rebounder but Markieff has more presence IMO. PERs are about the same.
    Stats support your impressions.

    Kuzma made a nice block which he should work on more. I have found him irredeemable in the past but there’s enough to impress a GM somewhere. He cannot rise to the occasion at present but he could be useful with lesser stakes, like the EC.

    Danny Green may no be worth $15mil but he is plus18 on/off in the playoffs, good D & reliable. I don’t see that as a trade motivator.

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