After two months that felt like years, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis finally made his return to the court. This surely brought some excitement back to what has been a slog of a regular season. Despite Davis’s debut not going quite as well as you would hope, there are some positive things to take away from his first 17 minutes back in action.
Takeaways from the return of Anthony Davis
Is he healthy?
From watching him play for 17 minutes, I would say yes. He moved around like how AD usually does. He did not seem to be favoring either of his legs or avoiding contact. Davis did fall a few times, but that’s normal for him. After the game he told reporters that the injury did not bother him at all.
Anthony Davis: "I felt fine. My wind felt better than I expected. I got good looks; I missed. That comes with game reps. But I felt good out there."
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) April 23, 2021
This is great news in comparison to how he described the injury after his final healthy game on February 12th against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Anthony Davis on what he felt tonight: "As you play, always using that Achilles tendon, it got sore at the end just constantly moving." Said on the whole it felt good, he'll get treatment.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 13, 2021
From the way AD moved on the court and spoke off the court, it feels like a safe bet to say that he has completely recovered from his calf strain.
Anthony Davis’ return was rusty
There was clear rust on AD in his first game back. In 17 minutes of action, Davis scored just four points on ten field goal attempts while also missing both his free throws. He got a lot of clean looks at the basket and was just missing. That’s the expectation when you haven’t played a game in months. So this is totally normal. What was good about his debut though was how active he was defensively. He managed to get a steal and a block in only a few minutes of play.
Anthony Davis’ on-court impact
Even in just one half of play with a rusty Davis, the impact was clear; the Lakers finally have someone who can draw double teams. In these past few weeks without Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers struggled mightily to create offense. Andre Drummond and Dennis Schroder were getting double-teamed which is unusual for role players of their caliber. Normally with everyone healthy Drummond and Schroder would be the ones benefitting from the double teams, not the other way around.
So having Davis back and drawing doubles and kicking it out to open shooters and cutters felt like a big boost to the Lakers’ offense. That’s the advantage of having a superstar, even if they are not scoring all of the points, the defense can not forget about them for a second.
What grade does his return get?
Overall this debut was solid. Davis did not have a great night offensively but that will come with time. As his minutes go up and his rust shakes off, the Lakers should expect the wins to come a little more easily than they have in past weeks.