On TNT Tuesday night, Barkley and the Inside the NBA gang were recapping the Los Angeles Lakers' humiliating 115-85 loss to the Phoenix Suns in Game 5 of their first round playoff series. Davis sat out Tuesday night with a groin strain he suffered in Game 4. Barkley declared the Lakers can't win without Davis, who he the dubbed "Street Clothes" because he's always injured.
Here's the clip:
Harsh, but fair.
Davis missed 36 regular season games this season due to various injuries including an Achilles issue that sidelined him for more than two months. That's been a common pattern throughout his career as the 28-year-old has never played a full 82-game season season. The closest he's gotten was back-to-back 75-game campaigns for New Orleans in 2016-17 and 2017-18. Just a general perusal of his injury history reveals he's probably never been fully healthy at any point of his career. It's always something.
Davis is among the best players in the world when he's healthy and was an absolute beast for the Lakers down the stretch of the 2019-20 season in the NBA's Orlando bubble. He was arguably the star of that run, despite LeBron James collecting the NBA Finals MVP trophy. Davis showed he belonged among the game's best by helping lead LA to that title.
This year he's barely been able to get off the ground. He's struggled from the start after a short, 51-day offseason. The Achilles injury knocked him out for weeks and he's been up and down since coming back late in the season. Now he's hurt again.
This offseason Davis needs to reevaluate the way he trains. He should get with James and mimic everything he does. Find the secret to LeBron's longevity. He has to find a way to stay on the court or he'll continue to be the butt of jokes, like Barkley's "Street Clothes" quip. Especially because Barkley isn't wrong.
"Street Clothes" fits and, unfortunately, Davis is going to have to wear it.