Anthony Davis has been among the world's best basketball players for several years now, but in the NBA true superstardom comes from performing in the playoffs. In his first year with the Los Angeles Lakers, and in the first meaningful playoff run of his career, Davis' performance has vaulted him to superstar status.
Davis is a seven-time All-Star and has been named First-Team All-NBA three times. We've known how good he is for years. But before this season he had only been to the postseason twice and in both trips, his New Orleans Pelicans were stomped early by the Golden State Warriors. Nothing much was expected of Davis and the Pelicans in either of those postseasons. This year with the Lakers is different and Davis is living up to his immense potential.
LeBron James has garnered a ton of headlines as the Lakers jumped to a 2-1 lead over the Rockets in their Western Conference semifinal series, but Davis has been phenomenal. In fact, from a statistical standpoint, he might be the MVP of the postseason so far.
Among players left in the bubble, Davis is second in points per game (29.3), field goal percentage (59.9) and rebounds (10,8) and third in free throws made (6.9). He is first in field goals made (10.6), blocks (1.5) and PER (35.47). Davis is also averaging 4.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game while garnering double-doubles in six of the eight games the Lakers have played.
While James is certainly leading the Lakers, Davis is holding up his end as a superstar partner for the King. The two make each other better and their combined ability helped push the Lakers to the top of the Western Conference.
This is why Davis joining the Lakers made so much sense. Not only did the spotlight afforded by Los Angeles vault him to another level visibility-wise, but playing with James in big moments and living up to his talent has raised his profile on the court as well.
We no longer have to wonder what it would be like if Davis just had a solid supporting cast, or what he could do on a really good team. That's playing out for us every night in the postseason. He's living up to the hype.