The Los Angeles Lakers are entering the 2022-23 season knowing that things can't go much worse for them than they did last season. Despite assembling a trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook, they never clicked, and their on-court struggles resulted in the Lakers missing the playoffs altogether last season, less than two years after they won the 2020 NBA Finals.
Anthony Davis is hoping to make a big impact in his return to the Los Angeles Lakers this season
While everyone liked to blame Westbrook as the main reason for the Lakers' struggles last season, another big contributing factor was the fact that Davis missed more than half of the season. Davis played in only 40 games last season, and even when he was on the court, he didn't look like the dominant two-way player Los Angeles fans had come to know and love in such a short amount of time.
If L.A. wants to accomplish anything this season, they will need Davis to return to the court and play like his old self. The good news for the Lakers is that Davis sounds intent on making sure he makes an impact this season. AD said he only has one individual goal for the upcoming season, and it's to play all 82 games for the Lakers. That's a pretty bold goal, and it will be interesting to see whether he can reach it this season.
The Los Angeles Lakers' success may depend on how Anthony Davis performs this season
The Lakers have seen what the duo of James and Davis can do when they are fully healthy and playing their best basketball together. The problem is that they have rarely taken the court together over the past two seasons. Davis has played just 76 games over the past two seasons, which doesn't even amount to one full NBA season.
AD has always dealt with injuries throughout his career, and he's never played a full 82-game season at any point of his career. For him to openly suggest he's looking to play all 82 games this season is a great sign that he's committed to the Lakers and winning this season. But it may not be the most attainable goal ever, given Davis' injury history and NBA teams' insistence on giving their players rest throughout the season.
How much Davis can play could determine how successful their 2022-23 season goes. It's no coincidence that the Lakers have struggled over the past two seasons with Davis laboring through injuries, and they will need him at his best if they want to bounce back in the Western Conference this season. AD still has the talent to be one of the top 10 players in the NBA, and whether or not he can recapture his old form could determine how far Los Angeles goes this season.