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Will LeBron's Lakers triumph in the playoffs? | NBA preview

The LA Lakers are already through to the NBA's Western Conference playoffs, and Jonathan Tjarks o...

Will LeBron's Lakers triumph i...
Other Sports

Will LeBron's Lakers triumph in the playoffs? | NBA preview

The LA Lakers are already through to the NBA's Western Conference playoffs, and Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer joined us to discuss the partnership of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

LeBron has had some brilliant partners in his career to date - such as Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh - but it is Davis that could be the next superstar foil.

Davis will be a vital cog in the Lakers' wheel partnering James as the knockout series approaches, but Tjarks says the younger man needs to step up.

"In terms of pure talent, just talent not about production or playoff success, but in terms of pure talent Anthony Davis is the most talented he's ever played with," said Tjarks.

"AD has never really had much playoff experience, it's all kind of new ground for him. We've got to see him prove it now.

"We all know he's very, very talented but he's had some games in the bubble where he got 12 or 15 points, that's just not going to cut it in the playoffs.

"You have to get 30, 35 points every night. He can do it, but he has to prove it."

LA Clippers, LA Lakers, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, NBA

An intriguing tactical element to the possible Western Conference series is Davis in the 'five' role on the court.

Particularly when playing against the LA Clippers, the Lakers' likely opponents in the Western Conference final.

"We saw the Lakers struggle in the opening game in the bubble," recalled Tjarks. "In that game, LeBron James really struggled, and Davis kind of carried the team.

"AD as a 'five' is so valuable. As when he's playing at centre, they can play four smaller players around him, and when the Clippers double team him, he has more space to operate and find the open man.

"The Clippers have no one who can guard Anthony Davis. I think Paul George and Kawhi can guard LeBron pretty well but they are too small to guard Anthony Davis.

"Therefore if you can play Davis in space, you have an advantage. Then the thing to watch is how will Anthony Davis pass the basketball?

"Against the Clippers they will double team him, can he make all the right passes?

"On them, he's only averaging three assists per game, my suspicion is to beat the Clippers you need to average six or seven assists [per game] in that series.

LeBron & AD

Can any other Laker fill that void, should Davis not deliver, Tjarks doesn't think so.

"I don't think there is, I think he has to play that well, he can play that well, but we're saying that it's unproven."

Much of the Lakers' focus has been on their city rivals Clippers. Tjarks says that's because it has to be.

"The Bucks are an equal challenger, but the Clippers come first. Before you worry about the Bucks, you've got to get the Clippers.

"For now it's all about the Clippers, but if they get past the Clippers, yes playing the Bucks will be just as big a challenge in the finals.

"The first two rounds [of the Play-offs] will be pretty easy for the Lakers, but the last two rounds will be very very tough."

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Anthony Davis LeBron James NBA NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals