Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis often finds himself under the microscope. He has always been heralded for his superstar talent but has seen his ability to carry a team to the next level questioned for much of his career.
With the Lakers fighting for a postseason spot, fans looked to Davis to keep the team relevant during LeBron James' absence. He technically did, as LA finally reached .500 and resided in the NBA Play-In picture ahead of James' return Sunday afternoon. Furthermore, Davis posted elite numbers during that stretch. Though, there were times- like in a collapse to the Dallas Mavericks on March 17- when he was unable to be the closer this franchise needs him to be.
Retired center and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins echoed the skepticism while on First Take Monday morning.
“I believe that he is still auditioning for the Los Angeles Lakers to see if [he can] put the franchise in his hands,” Perkins said.
.@KendrickPerkins says there is more pressure on Anthony Davis to make a run, not LeBron 👀
"I believe that he is still auditioning for the Los Angeles Lakers to see if [he can] put the franchise in his hands." pic.twitter.com/DHAO3kKkTB
— First Take (@FirstTake) March 27, 2023
He elaborated that LeBron James has nothing left to prove in his age-38 season after all he has accomplished. Perkins thinks all of the pressure should instead be on Davis. And yet, The Brow was right there alongside James during when the Lakers won the NBA Championship in the 2019-20 season.
In fact, he was pivotal, averaging 27.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game during those playoffs. His highlight was a game-winning 3-pointer in the Western Conference Finals versus the Denver Nuggets, which ensured the momentum would stay firmly in LA's favor. To Perkins point, however, that was seen as LeBron's team and not AD's.
Anthony Davis has more frequently popped up in trade conversations the past year. Nothing has ever been concrete, but ongoing injury problems and the occasional on-court inconsistencies have put his long-term Lakers future in some doubt. A strong finish to the regular season and herculean postseason production could be enough to erase all doubt.
Though, it seems that this ‘audition' will have to be done while again serving as the NBA all-time leading scorer's understudy.