It seems like just recently, Anthony Davis was regarded as one of the best young players in the NBA and the possible new face of the league. But instead of making that leap, AD has started to drift south in his late 20s, becoming the face of injuries, street clothes on the bench, and progress stagnation in the NBA world, even though the talent level is elite. Stephen A. at least still believes so.
No work ethic?
Just the other day, AD made headlines for saying he hasn't touched a basketball since April 5th causing an avalanche of criticism after already being on the bad side of Lakers fans because of his constant injuries and lack of improvement in his game.
After the first season, in which he played a huge part in a championship and showed why the Lakers traded so much for him, Anthony played in only 76 games over the past two seasons, with his numbers dropping and the Lakers going out disappointingly despite AD entering his prime years.
At 28 years old, AD still has a lot of time to get back on track. After all, he is the perfect big man for today's NBA, at 6'10'', agile and athletic with a smooth jumper and defensive prowess. That alone brings hope to Lakers fans that Anthony Davis will finally become the player everybody expected them to be.
The infamous ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith believes AD is still an elite-level talent and player, putting him even above some of the best players in the league.
"We're only talking skill. What you do on the basketball court when you're healthy. Are you ready for this? I'd take Anthony Davis over Luka. I'd take Anthony Davis over Jokic. Yes, I would. And let me go a step further. Let me go a step further. And I know how great Jokic is... I'm saying this to you. I'm taking him over Luka, I'm taking him over Jokic and as much love and respect and reverence as I have for Jimmy Butler and Jayson Tatum, and how bigtime I believe both of them are, I'd take a healthy Anthony Davis over them too."
Stephen A. Smith, ESPN
Obviously, Stephen A. caught a lot of fire for these comments, as putting someone that can barely stay on the floor above a back-to-back MVP in Jokic or future face of the league in Luka is simply crazy. But Stephen A. Smith often disrespects the international players and gives the benefit of the doubt to the American players, despite it sounding blasphemous.
Although talent-wise, you could make a comparison, there is no way you mention AD's name with Luka's or Nikola's over the past few seasons. There are different levels to this, and Davis is not there anymore. Luckily JJ Redick and Amare Stoudamire made sure to remind him of that.