Lakers News: Could Anthony Davis Win 2023 MVP?

He needs to stay healthy first. And his team needs to play a whole lot better.

Veteran Boston Celtics center-turned-ESPN personality Kendrick Perkins has never been one to shy away from hot takes. And today, he’s serving up a piping-hot opinion regarding the on-court output of Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis.

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Perkins, who won a title with Boston in 2008 as the team’s starting center, played in the NBA from 2003-2016, then served with the Cavaliers’ NBAGL affiliate the Canton Charge from 2017-18, and finally closed out his career with Cleveland in 2018. 

Known for his defensive acumen, the 6’10” big man evolved into a venerated locker room presence during the second half of his career. He has since become an outspoken ESPN commentator, never afraid to voice interesting opinions on the NBA news of the day. 

Perkins chatted with Bally Sports’ Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson. During the conversation, talk turned to Lakers big man Anthony Davis. Perkins suggested that he believed Davis was capable of not only returning to his past on-court glories after several injury-plagued seasons, but actually surpassing them by nabbing the league’s highest individual regular season accolade.

Here’s the full pertinent Perk quote:

“I actually got high hopes that Anthony Davis might be MVP. I think that Anthony Davis is going to come out on a mission; word is that there’s reports that [Lakers coach] Darvin Ham says that the Lakers offense will go through Anthony Davis and I think that this is Anthony Davis’s moment to start getting back in that top tier, top 5 player conversation again — like it used to be a conversation ‘Who would you rather?’ and all of the sudden, Giannis put a WHOLE lot of separation and I think that Anthony Davis is going to come and fill up some of that slack and narrow that gap a little bit.”

Davis, who has missed at least 26 regular season games in three of the past four years due to a variety of injuries, would need to get a whole lot healthier to get consideration for such an honor. His Lakers team would also need to return to its 2019-20 era level of play, when it went 52-19 during a pandemic-shortened season (equivalent to in a standard 82-game year) and secured the top seed in the West en route to the NBA title.

At the time, All-NBA superstar LeBron James was clearly the best player in L.A., and finished second in MVP voting that year behind winner Giannis Antetokounmpo. Davis finished sixth.

During his last two years with the Lakers, Davis has missed 78 out of a possible 154 regular season contests. The 29-year-old out of the University of Kentucky has put on weight to play more minutes at center recently, but in so doing has sacrificed the quickness and versatility that made his game so special. When healthy, the Brow was still fairly effective in putting up numbers, albeit on a lackluster 33-49 Lakers team. He posted averages of 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.1 dimes, 2.3 blocks and 1.2 steals during his 40 available games for L.A. in the 2021-22 season.

For the record, we at All Lakers are dubious such an achievement for A.D. at this point in his career with this caliber of supporting cast is possible, and would happily settle for Davis staying healthy across at least 65 games and returning to his athletic prime.

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