I cannot emphasize enough just how good Anthony Davis is. Seriously, he is immense.
This season, Davis took a below par New Orleans Pelicans team to the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference. New Orleans have nothing special in their roster barring AD, and were plagued by injuries, so merely making the playoffs ahead of talented squads such as the hurt Thunder, Phoenix, and Utah was a fantastic achievement for the young forward.
But while that's all great, especially if you're a Pelicans fan, here are the real reasons why I'm so full of praise for The Brow.
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Nailed on MVP
In this season's MVP voting, Davis came fifth, and also managed to secure his maiden appearance in the All-NBA 1st team. And he's just 22 years old. That's right. 22. I'll say it again. 22 years old.
Michael Jordan himself, the greatest player ever to grace the NBA, was already 24 by the time he was first elected to the team. Since Jordan, the only players who were on parallel to Davis' level at such an early stage in their careers are 'the greatest player on the planet' LeBron James, and the Bulls' Derrick Rose.
If Davis is already considered the fifth best player in the league with so many more years to develop, he could easily end up with several MVP awards by the time he calls it a day.
This season was a breakout year for Davis. But referring to it as merely a breakout year really doesn't do it justice. It was an unbelievable season for the 6' 10'' sensation, with Davis posting some historic numbers.
Davis' Player Efficiency Rating, the figure designed to evaluate the overall impact of a player over the season, was a phenomenal 30.81. That's the 11th highest PER of all time. At 22 years old. The only players ever to top that? Jordan, James, and Wilt Chamberlain. Pretty good company if you ask me.
But that's not all. Davis averaged a staggering 24.4 points per game, the 4th highest in the NBA, and he also led the league in blocks, averaging 2.9 per game, miles ahead of the rest of the field, earning him the second blocking title of his 3-year career.
Watching Davis play is often a wonder to behold. On the defensive end, he dominates the paint with his rebounding and insane blocking ability. On offense, he has developed into one of the biggest threats in the league.
Already a beast in the paint, Davis has added an effective mid-range jump shot to his game, making him devastating off the pick-and-roll, and forcing defenders to stick tight to him, giving him an easy path to the rim.
But what I love most about Davis' game is that he turns up when it matters most to pull his team over the line. He's a true clutch player. Nothing illustrates this better than the Pelicans' win over the Thunder back in February. With the game tied and 1.2 seconds on the clock, Davis received an inbound pass outside the three-point line, and pulled off a double-clutch shot from downtown over the then MVP, Kevin Durant.
It would have been an amazing feat for any player, but it was made even better by the fact that it was the only three Davis made all season. The victory eventually proved decisive in securing New Orleans a playoff spot ahead of the Thunder, so the magnitude of the shot is hard to put into words.
As I've said already, Anthony Davis is only 22 years old, and there is seemingly no ceiling on his potential. Things will only get better for The Brow, as he continues to increase his field goal percentage and add new aspects to his game. Perhaps even a deadly corner three. Incoming Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has promised to utilise the freakish forward more often than was the case under Monty Williams, so his statistics will undoubtedly hit new heights.
The prospect of Davis improving still further will frighten the rest of the NBA. I can't wait.
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