It's no secret that Anthony Davis is a lethal weapon on the basketball court.
Still, whether or not he was worth the steep price the Los Angeles Lakers paid for him during this past offseason — which included dealing Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans — was certainly up for debate.
But Davis' 40-point, 20-rebound performance Tuesday night that featured 26 points from the charity stripe — a stat line only registered by one Wilt Chamberlain during his record-smashing 100-point game — may have been enough to silence his doubters.
In just 31 minutes on the floor, the 6-foot-10 power forward went 7-of-17 from the floor and missed only one of his 27 free throw attempts on the night, becoming the first Laker to register a 40-20 game since Shaquille O'Neal achieved the feat in 2003. In addition to his eight offensive rebounds and 12 grabs off the glass on the defensive end, Davis tacked on two blocks for what was undoubtedly the most impressive performance of the night across the entire NBA.
One game is not enough to settle the debate over Davis' trade value definitively. However, Tuesday night's performance is undoubtedly indicative of the six-time All-Star's potential impact for a Los Angeles franchise inching closer and closer to title contention. And, perhaps most notably, Davis' point and rebound totals from the Lakers' 120-91 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies were greater than Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram's output from last season combined.
Davis averaged 28.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, three assists, three blocks, and a steal through his first four games in purple and yellow threads and has yet to score fewer than 21 points during his young tenure in Los Angeles. By comparison, Ball and Ingram together scored 28.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game during the 2018-19 season. Add in Hart's 7.8-point, 3.7-rebound year, and Davis trails the trio by just 7.2 points and 1.6 rebounds, or roughly the contribution fifth-string shooting guard Troy Daniels has made to the Lakers thus far this season.
Whether or not Davis will be able to sustain this level of excellence for the entire NBA season remains to be seen. Still, so far, the big man has made a strong case for himself as a worthy investment, especially considering Los Angeles is looking to win now while the 34-year-old LeBron James is still a lucrative asset.