Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers became the first Laker since Shaquille O’Neal in 2004 to score 30 points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game against the Golden State Warriors. He had a great impact throughout the first-round series with the Memphis Grizzlies. In addition, Davis is being defended by a fellow big man, Kevon Looney, who has grabbed at least 20 rebounds in four of the last six games. Due to the physicality of the game, Davis must keep up with the rigorous demands of playing every other night in the series.
As the Lakers look to grab the second win over the Warriors, the NBA is feeling reminiscent. With many 7-footers such as Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Robert Parish-Kevin McHale combination, the NBA is seeing a callback to the older days of basketball with the role of big men being once again deemed important. Davis and his quickness, shooting range and his ability to perform tasks associated with smaller players such as dribbling give him an edge over his peers.
The remaining players such as Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, both runners-up for the MVP and scoring champion this season, are also playing a significant role in the playoffs. Although Davis has a history of injuries, he believes the immediate road ahead in this series will be more challenging for him. If the big men of the NBA continue to elevate their gameplay, it is possible that the last man standing could tower over everyone else.