ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has a made a big name for himself because of his tendency to speak his mind regardless of who he offends. He held nothing back when LeBron James was shown to be taking warmup jump shots more than five hours before the Los Angeles Lakers' Game 3 clash with the Golden State Warriors.
James received praise from Smith. Anthony Davis, on the other hand, was not so fortunate to avoid the pundit's renowned wrath.
“He ain't the one that needs to be out there. It's [Anthony Davis]!” an incredulous Smith exclaimed, per ClutchPoints (originally CyrusTheVirus).
Mike Greenberg: "LeBron James on the floor at Crypto arena getting set for the Warriors and Lakers."
Stephen A. Smith: "He ain't the one that needs to be out there. It's [Anthony Davis]!" 😳pic.twitter.com/JlQacNIhrW https://t.co/5AXUvk8qe6
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 6, 2023
Savage, but perhaps true. Anthony Davis has been as dominant on both ends of the floor as any player in the league during the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The Lakers are practically guaranteed victory when he plays his best brand of basketball. However, fans have not seen that AD on a nightly basis. He has seemingly been operating on a timer, erupting in odd games and sputtering in even ones.
Actually, maybe he doesn't have to practice at all for Saturday's matchup. The challenge will be Game 4. In all seriousness, though, Davis' inconsistencies have underscored his tenure in LA. He was an integral part of their title run in 2020, but fans want to know that he can definitively lead this franchise after LeBron James leaves. The mantle could be passed imminently.
Though, Davis cannot drop it again. If the Lakers are going to realistically hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy again this year, then he will probably need to be the best player on his team for the rest of this postseason.
Even so, it is probably best LeBron puts in the extra preparation as the Lakers continue to battle the defending champions.