With the Lakers 12-12 start, the pundits and vultures have all come cawing. Frank Vogel has been in the hot seat, LeBron James has been criticized daily (mostly by Skip Bayless) and of course, Russell Westbrook's performance has been criticized since day one.
NBA on TNT is a basketball institution. It never ceases to be entertaining and funny. Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson are often laugh-out-loud hilarious. A lot of this stems from Charles Barkley's outspoken personality. Barkley never shies away from being funny and opinionated. Like many darts thrown at a board, however, Barkley often misses. This time, Barkley took aim at Anthony Davis.
"Anthony Davis, you've got to play better. I said on this first night if the Lakers were going to be any good, it was all going to be on you. Has nothing to do with Russell had nothing to do with LeBron and the rest of them old ass geezers they put together out there. But now y'all crossed the line cuz I really like Frank Vogel. It ain't his fault. It's my opinion. I blame Anthony Davis."
All opinions have biases. Not included in this quote another Barkley statement saying how much he likes Frank Vogel. Okay, Barkley, you took offense to Vogel being in the hot seat. Barkley may have a point that coaches are often the first to take the blame when a team underperforms. It's a reductive line of thinking that is often unfair. Barkley decided to take a reductive take and make a worse one by focusing on Davis.
Davis is currently averaging 24/10. He's shooting 52% from the floor, has an eFG% of 53%, 2.2 blocks per game, and 3.1 assists. On the advanced stats side, he leads the team in VORP (value over replacement player) which is a cumulative stat, leads the team in Win Shares by a large margin, and has a 25.3 PER, which also easily leads the team.
The question I would posit to Barkley is, how much more is Davis supposed to contribute to this team before you blame someone else? How is it possible to blame the player on the Lakers who is performing better than anyone else?