Sportress of Blogitude

Charles Barkley: Anthony Davis needs to ‘play better’ to reverse Lakers’ shaky start

The Los Angeles Lakers have stumbled out of the gates this season due to myriad factors, but Charles Barkley believes one player in particular has played an oversized role in the team’s shaky start.

The outspoken NBA on TNT analyst called out Anthony Davis on Tuesday night as the “Inside the NBA” panel discussed what’s gone wrong for the Lakers so far this season ahead of the team’s showdown with the Boston Celtics. Specifically, Barkley suggested the onus should be on AD to perform up to his capabilities to help get the Lakers’ season headed in a better direction.

“Listen, Anthony Davis, you’ve got to play better,” Barkley said. “I said on this first night. If the Lakers were gonna be any good, it was all gonna be on you. It has nothing to do with Russell. Has nothing to do with LeBron, and the rest of them old a– geezers they put together out there. But now y’all have crossed the line, because I really like Frank Vogel. It ain’t his fault.

“In my opinion, I blame Anthony Davis. Anthony Davis, you know I like you as a person, but you ain’t doing what you’re supposed to do. You’re 27 years old. You’re supposed to be in your prime. You’re supposed to be one of the five best players in the world. Up there with Giannis, Kevin Durant, and those guys. And you ain’t holding up your end of the bargain. So now I hear y’all are going to fire the head coach. That’s total B.S., man. Now I feel better.”

Barkley of course is unafraid to speak his mind, even if he ruffles feathers along the way (including those of his fellow panelists). Such unabashed analysis out of Barkley and the rest of the panel is what makes “Inside the NBA” arguably the greatest sports studio show in television history.

Concerning Barkley’s argument that the Lakers need more out of Davis, the star has played in 24 of 25 games while posting a stat line of 24.1 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 blocks per game following Tuesday’s 117-102 win over Boston. In the victory, Davis scored 17 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and chipped in three assists.

Barkley also touched on how Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has come under scrutiny due to the Lakers’ early-season struggles. LeBron James actually came out in defense of Vogel earlier this week. In his comments, James instead pointed his finger at the players and argued it’s up to them to execute on the court.

The Lakers certainly have had to navigate some debilitating injury issues early on this season, but when a team boasts a lineup featuring the likes of Davis, James — who has missed a fair share of games himself — Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, among others, a 13-12 record just is not going to cut it. Davis, not to mention every other Laker on the roster, simply have to do more.