In Thursday’s postgame segment after another blowout loss from the reeling Los Angeles Lakers, TNT analyst and former NBA player Kenny Smith argued that injured superstar Anthony Davis could lift any team to the playoffs — including the young and rebuilding Houston Rockets.
Smith’s quip to his TNT colleagues was an attempt to underscore how significant Davis’ absence is to the Lakers. His comment:
If you have Anthony Davis in any lineup, with any team… If I put Anthony Davis on the Houston Rockets, they’re gonna be significantly in the playoffs.
Smith later added the San Antonio Spurs (24-39) and Portland Trail Blazers (25-37) to his statement, which is a more reasonable take. After all, the Spurs are currently only 0.5 games back of the No. 10 spot for the Western Conference play-in tournament. Portland is 2.5 back.
Houston (15-47), however, is 11 games back while owning the worst record in the Western Conference… and there are still 20 regular-season games left for that margin to grow. In all, Davis would have to be worth something close to 15 wins by himself alone to potentially lift the Rockets even into play-in tournament range — let alone the actual playoffs.
For a player in Davis who has struggled with numerous injuries throughout his NBA career, and one who made the playoffs only two times in seven years while in New Orleans, that seems rather extreme. To Smith’s credit, he seemed to realize that when he pivoted to more moderate examples than the Rockets, such as the Blazers and Spurs.
Nonetheless, the clip made it to Twitter, and NBA fans took some playful shots at “The Jet” in response. Here’s some of the best ones.
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