Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is putting the rest of the NBA on notice, telling ESPN that Anthony Davis is ready for a bounce-back 2022-23 season after an injury-plagued 2021-22 campaign.
"He's bought in, and I think he's quietly put together one of the biggest offseasons of his career," Pelinka said (h/t Brad Sullivan of Lakers Daily). "You can just tell. He's got a very serious tone about him. Last year didn't unfold the way that any of us wanted, and I think everyone's gonna come back with a chip on our shoulder, and A.D.'s gonna lead us with that. I think he's working hard. I know he's working really hard on his body."
Pelinka's comments come after NBA skills coach Lethal Shooter tweeted earlier this month that Davis is "locked in" and has been training early in the morning every day this summer.
Lethal Shooter @LethalShooter__
Anthony Davis been locked in! Training everyday at 4:50am is what it takes! After 400makes, FT’s are key! To be the best if you need to be up before the rest. More work to be done this summer!🏁🎯 <a href="https://twitter.com/AntDavis23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AntDavis23</a> . -Stay locked in! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LethalShooter?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LethalShooter</a> <a href="https://t.co/YzFwyUebu6">pic.twitter.com/YzFwyUebu6</a>
New head coach Darvin Ham also told Andscape's Marc J. Spears that Davis must play a huge role next season if the Lakers hope to contend for a title, adding that the team will do what it can to help him stay in peak form:
"With AD, I would say he's the biggest factor. I'm looking forward to him having a huge year this year. I know the way we're going to play is going to benefit him. The way I'm going to take care of him, make sure we take care of him, it's going to benefit him. That size, that skill set, that approach. What you saw in the bubble, we're bringing that back. And again, we got to make sure we take care of him, meet all of his needs physically and make sure he's in a good space mentally, spiritually, but he's the factor. This s— ain't going to work without AD being right."
Injuries have been an issue for Davis over the last two seasons.
During the 2020-21 season, Davis appeared in just 36 regular-season games and five playoff matchups for the Lakers, who were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 postseason by the Phoenix Suns.
The 2021-22 season was also rough for Davis in terms of injuries as he appeared in just 40 games for a Purple and Gold side that finished 11th in the Western Conference and missed the playoffs.
Getting a healthy Davis back into the L.A. lineup should do wonders for the Lakers. The last time he was fully healthy in 2019-20, he averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.3 blocks in 62 games while shooting 50.3 percent from the floor and 33.0 percent from deep.
The Lakers went on to win the 2020 NBA title with Davis fully healthy.
That said, the Lakers will also need LeBron James to remain healthy next season and will need Russell Westbrook to have a much better season after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.