If you want to name some of the most talented, versatile, and psychically gifted players in today’s NBA, two names jump off above everybody else. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis are maybe two of the most prominent transcendent players playing currently. Who would be the better player a few years ago was a serious debate, but as time passed by and both guys entered their primes, it is evident that Giannis separated himself to another level.
The struggles of the Lakers and AD
Going into the season, the Los Angeles Lakers were portrayed as one of the biggest favorites to go all the way and with sound reasoning. A superstar trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook supported by a stacked roster sounded promising, but the experiment hasn’t been working too well so far.
LeBron went down with an injury, Westbrook has been playing horribly, and AD has been handed the keys of the team to stay afloat. However, Davis is averaging solid numbers with 24.2 ppg and 10.9 bpg while maintaining relatively healthy, but the eye test is showing flaws in his game.
Although he is able to do everything on the court, it seems Anthony is stuck in no man’s land between the 4 and 5 positions. The best example is the game versus the Bulls earlier this week. Chicago came in without Vučević and really short under the basket. A perfect opportunity for AD to dominate and guide LA to the win. But the game went in a different way, as the collective defensive effort from Chicago locked down Davis in the blowout win.
AD can shoot from deep and the midrange especially, but he sometimes relies too much on that shot instead of taking in down low. In the process of getting stronger to be able to bang with centers, his quickness fell off a bit, downgrading his defensive ability to switch everything. All this sounds hateful, but don’t get me wrong. Anthony Davis is an exceptional player and of the elite stars in the NBA, but it is painfully apparent that he hasn’t improved much since coming into the league. Something you can’t say about his comparison and rival in Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Charles compares Giannis to Kobe and MJ, AD to LeBron
NBA Hall-of-Famer and TNT analyst Charles Barkley also chipped into the Giannis-AD conversation while making an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. Charles thinks Giannis has excelled over Davis thanks to his mindset, comparing both of them to some great names:
“He (AD) just don’t have that killer thing. Giannis and Rusell Westbrook. I’ll pay to watch those guys play. Because as a fan, they give you maximum effort every night…As much as I love LeBron, Michael, and Kobe, they will kill you. And it’s just a mindset. And Giannis he is more close to Michael and Kobe, and Anthony is more closer to LeBron. LeBron’s a great player and a really nice guy. And I don’t think anybody ever said Michael and Kobe were nice guys cause they don’t care about that.”Charles Barkley, The Dan Patrick Show
That is a great point from Charles, as he went on to name a couple of guys like Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, John Stockton, and Karl Malone that were really nice guys back in the day. It is definitely not a knock, but you can’t have that killer mindset, ready to go over anyone and to anything to get the win while still having the reputation of a good guy.
Giannis entered the NBA as an extremely raw prospect. But with time, he has managed to perfect his strengths and minimize his weaknesses, becoming a multiple MVP and NBA Champion. On the other side, AD entered the NBA much more ready and versatile, but it seems he hasn’t moved on from that too much.
The reason for that? What Barkley said. Giannis has that killer mindset and motivation to outwork everyone, just like Michael and Kobe, while Davis is much more like LeBron. Relaxed and living off his natural gift, rather than grinding like crazy in the summer. There are levels to this, as you have to earn everything. The situation between Giannis and AD is the perfect example of that.