Anthony Davis has been phenomenal to open the 2019-20 season and his arrival has vaulted the Los Angeles Lakers to the top of the Western Conference. But it's not all sunshine and roses. Davis is dealing with a shoulder injury and if it gets worse, it could derail the Lakers' season.
Davis' right shoulder has been bothering him for weeks and he tweaked it again on Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors. He has claimed there isn't a single play where he doesn't notice the shoulder pain and that's he's just playing through it. That's not good. It's clearly something that's not getting better.
Through nine games this season, Davis has been flat out phenomenal. He's sixth in the NBA in scoring (26.6 points per game), 12th in rebounds (10.2 per game), first in blocks (3.1 per game) and 10th in PER (28.16). Remember, those scoring and rebounding numbers are coming while playing next to LeBron James. Davis is also third in defensive rating (93.2), sixth in win shares (1.7) and second in defensive win shares (0.9).
So yeah, he's wildly important to what the Lakers are doing. The team can't afford for him to miss any length of time in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
The issue here is Davis' track record. He's never played a full season and that should concern the Lakers. He checked in at 75 games played twice (2016-17 and 2017-18), but other than that has played in 64, 67, 61 and 56. He's dealt with numerous lingering injuries over the years, everything from back and shoulder injuries to ankle, hand and knee issues. It's a legitimate issue.
Davis is obviously a top five player in the NBA when he's healthy, but can he stay on the court? The Lakers are built to win now. Their supporting cast has been better than expected, especially on the defensive end. Once Kyle Kuzma is fully up to speed, they could be the favorites out west.
As far as playoff positioning is concerned, wins in November are just as valuable as wins in March. But the Lakers need to be wary of Davis' shoulder and determine whether or not some time off could allow it to heal. They'll need him more in the postseason than they do now.