Gary Payton explains how LeBron James helped transform Lakers star Anthony Davis
As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday night, Hall of Famer Gary Payton chimed in on how Anthony Davis has unlocked his full potential through the help of LeBron James.
“I think LeBron James is the reason why he is the way he is now. He has a big brother to take him under his wing.” @GaryPayton on one of the reasons why AD is taking a huge jump this postseason
— ShowtimeForum (@ShowtimeForum) September 29, 2020
As you can see, Payton believes that James’ veteran presence — as well as his ability to teach a burgeoning legend in Davis how to truly be his best self — has helped Davis during a rather easy playoff run for the Lakers.
It is certainly true that Davis has never even come close to this level of playoff success before, with his furthest postseason run before coming in 2018 when his New Orleans Pelicans swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.
It is also worth mentioning that AD never had a teammate at James’ caliber during his time with New Orleans.
However, claiming that LeBron James has unlocked a new level to Anthony Davis in the postseason is a tad misleading.
Sure, Davis hit a flashy buzzer-beater in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, which likely helped bring more attention to him. Nonetheless, his showing in 2018 actually saw him put up some staggering numbers on an eventually doomed Pelicans team.
Davis finished top 10 in the playoffs in a variety of categories at the time, including points, PER, free throw, blocks, total rebounds and minutes per game.
Still, history is written by the winners, so if the Lakers are able to take down the Heat in the Finals, perhaps the argument by Gary Payton will be given more credence.