Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis not only believes he should be more prominently featured in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation — he thinks he's the best defensive player in the NBA.

Between Game 1 and Game 2 of the Lakers' NBA Playoffs matchup with the Denver Nuggets, the league announced the finalists for its end-of-season awards. The three finalists for Defensive Player of the Year: Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama, and Miami Heat stalwart Bam Adebayo.

Anthony Davis has never won the award, nor received serious consideration.

“I'll never get it,” Davis told ESPN. “They're not giving it to me. The league doesn't like me. I'm the best defensive player in the league. I can switch 1 through 5. I can guard the pick-and-roll the best in the league, from a big standpoint. I block shots. I rebound.

“I don't know what else to do. I'm over it. I'm just going to do what I got to do to help the team win and try to play for a championship. Accolades and individual awards, I'm done with those.”

Davis battled through a stream of ailments — lingering back/hip spasms, multiple eye injuries, knee hyperextension, etc. — to anchor the Lakers' defense for a career-high 76 games in 2023-24.

Davis averaged 12.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 1.2 steals, and 11.8 defensive win shares — his best mark since leaving the New Orleans Pelicans. His versatility, intelligence, and backline communication are vital to the Lakers' defense.

Throughout the season, various Lakers players have tried to articulate the immensity of AD's value. LeBron said it would be “impossible” for the Lakers to function without him.

“I can block shots, I can help from the weak side, I can switch onto anybody, I can guard the pick-and-roll, I can guard the guard and get back on the big and break up the lob, I can guard the post, I can guard the pindown,” Davis added to ESPN. “Whatever it is. Whatever it is defensively, I'm able to do.

“So, that's my ability. My ability defensively is to do everything.”

The Lakers' defensive performance likely dinged AD in the voting (of course, Gobert, Wemby, and Bam are pretty hard to score on, too). An offensive explosion largely spurred Los Angeles' 23-9 post-January surge. The defense, meanwhile, sagged to 21st in defensive rating during that stretch.

Overall, the Lakers finished 17th in defensive rating for the sesaon. Gobert's Timberwolves were first. the Heat were fifth. The Spurs were 21st.

Conveniently (or not), there's no greater defensive test for a big man than corraling Jokic, Jamal Murray, and the Nuggets in a high-altitude playoff game. Davis spent 44 minutes admirably jostling with the two-time MVP in Game 1, and it wasn't enough.

Darvin Ham forewent a backup center, outside four Jaxson Hayes minutes. Jokic shot 8-of-9 when the Lakers switched Rui Hachimura onto him.

“We’ll look at it and make our adjustments,” Davis said postgame about the defense on Jokic. “Talk among ourselves and just kind of see if we’re helping Rui, if we’re leaving him on an island when he scores and things like that. Then we’ll make the proper adjustments going into Game 2.

“If that means that I’m on him for the whole game then so be it.”