“I’ve had some great teammates in my career,” James said. “[Davis] is one of those unicorns, and he does things that some of my other great teammates are not capable of doing. But in the same sense, I’ve played with Dwyane Wade, and he could do some things that A.D. is not capable of doing. I also played with Kyrie Irving. He could do some things that [Wade] and [Davis] are not capable of doing. I’ve had the luxury of playing with some great players, and that’s just three of them.”
While that politically correct description is true, Davis now clearly holds the honor of having the best postseason run of any James teammate. James won titles in 2012 and 2013 with Wade on the Miami Heat, won a title in 2016 with Irving on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and advanced to the Finals four times with each of them. Yet none of those runs produced a postseason like the one Davis is having , with the Lakers now positioned to close out their championship run with a Game 5 win over the Heat on Friday. Davis has played so well that he must be regarded as a strong candidate for Finals MVP.
For the playoffs, Davis is stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 28.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Only six players have matched those numbers in each category over the course of a postseason: James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin Durant, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon. All six are Hall of Famers or future Hall of Famers.
Davis has also posted an excellent 29.8 Player Efficiency Rating, a stat that seeks to boil down his total contributions into a single measure of effectiveness. Only three players have posted a higher PER during a postseason run that lasted at least 15 games: James, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. The best postseasons by Wade (24.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 26.3 PER in 2011) and Irving (25.2 points, 3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 24.4 PER) simply don’t measure up, and Davis currently has a higher PER than James, something no teammate has done during one of James’s title runs.
Posting outrageous statistics is nothing knew for Davis, who averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds while leading the league in blocks in his second season at age 20. Davis seemingly has little interest in box score analysis, as he brushed off a question after scoring 34 points in his Finals debut to put him alongside O’Neal, George Mikan and Elgin Baylor in the Lakers’ record books.
“What makes it even sweeter is winning it,” Davis said. “That’s obviously that’s a great honor, but I also want to be mentioned in categories with champions. That’s the next step.”
Indeed, Davis’s postseason run has been about more than just historic numbers: He hit a memorable game-winning buzzer-beater against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals, and he drilled a dagger three-pointer to put away