National Basketball Association
Anthony Davis on Lakers: ‘We don't know what this team could've been’
National Basketball Association

Anthony Davis on Lakers: ‘We don't know what this team could've been’

Updated Apr. 4, 2022 11:43 a.m. ET

By Melissa Rohlin
FOX Sports NBA Writer

Anthony Davis still believes in the Lakers' roster.

When asked if he thinks the Lakers could've won an NBA championship this season if everyone had been healthy, he didn't hesitate in his response.

"Absolutely," Davis told FOX Sports, nodding his head emphatically. "Absolutely. Absolutely."


But instead of preparing for a title run, the Lakers are bracing to be considered one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history. After entering this season as title favorites with a roster stacked with five future Hall of Famers, the Lakers are likely on the verge of missing the play-in tournament.

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They're two games behind the San Antonio Spurs for 10th place in the Western Conference with only four games left. But the Spurs hold the tiebreaker, so they're essentially three games back, which is a seemingly insurmountable mountain for a team that has lost six games in a row — and plays the league-leading Phoenix Suns on Tuesday followed by the third-place Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

If the Lakers miss the play-in tournament, it'll be one of the most shocking implosions ever.

But after their 129-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, Davis stressed that injuries prevented the team from ever realizing its potential.

LeBron James, Davis and Russell Westbrook have played only 21 of a possible 78 games together this season. Davis still believes if he hadn't missed 40 games, and James hadn't missed 22 games, this team could've really been something special.

"I think we could've done extremely well," Davis told FOX Sports. "We've got me, Russ, Bron, Melo [Carmelo Anthony], Dwight [Howard], AB [Avery Bradley], Malik [Monk]. We got an extremely good team on both sides of the basketball. But with us not being healthy, we don't know what this team could've been. It looks good on paper and, at times, we do play well."

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For Davis, it's disappointing that the Lakers' season is likely coming to an end now. He's finally back. And Westbrook is finally making some shots.

On Sunday, the Lakers showed a lot of fight even though they were missing James because of a lingering ankle injury. Davis had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. And Westbrook had one of his best performances of the season, finishing with 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

"Russ started coming into himself, Bron obviously leading the league in scoring, me starting to get into a rhythm — who knows?" Davis said, looking at the ground. "We won't know. But all we can do is continue to fight for these last four."

No one will ever know how good this Lakers team could've been if their three superstars were consistently healthy. But the general consensus is that even with the hand they were dealt, they still should've been far, far better than they were.

The Lakers are in 11th place in the Western Conference with a record of 31-47 despite James averaging an NBA-best 30.3 points a game. They won only four games in March. In fact, they've won only four of their past 20 games dating back to late February.

Davis has heard all of the chatter about blowing this Lakers team up.

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Heads will roll if the Lakers don't figure out a way to shed Westbrook's $47 million contract next season after his underwhelming tenure with the team. Davis' name has been thrown around as potential trade fodder. Heck, one of the most prominent columnists in the nation even opined that the Lakers need to trade LeBron James.

"They talk about it everywhere," Davis told FOX Sports. "They talked about it when Philly was going to the playoffs and lost in the first round [in 2020] — ‘You need to blow this team up.’ They talked about Dame [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum] when they were going to the playoffs every year and losing in the first or second round — ‘Blow this team up.’ If you're losing, they're going to want to blow the team up."

Davis isn't concerning himself with any of that noise. Right now, the Lakers have a tough enough task ahead of them in trying to keep their playoff hopes alive despite the overwhelmingly grim odds.

He just laments the fact that this superstar-studded roster never truly got a chance to show what it could do.

Whether the stars will ever get the chance is a question for another day.

"We don't worry about that," Davis told FOX Sports. "We will figure out whatever it is in the summertime when we get there."

Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Times, the Bay Area News Group and the San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on Twitter @melissarohlin.


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