Kobe Bryant comeback irrelevant - Anthony Davis is true star of NBA opening night

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Kobe Bryant returns to competitive action tonight for the first time in 10 months as the Los Angeles Lakers help get the 2014-15 NBA season underway. 

The media spotlight is therefore likely to be shining brightly on the Staples Center as we clamour to see if the Black Mamba has still got it or if he has truly left his best days behind him.

But while the Tuesday morning headlines will no doubt be the preserve of the 16-time All-Star regardless of which storyline plays out, does it, in the long run, really matter?

Rather than focussing our attention on a once great master attempting to draw a standing ovation one last time before the curtain closes, the world should really be watching the action down in New Orleans as Anthony Davis begins the latest chapter in what is shaping up to be a great NBA career.

After a breakout second season in the league which saw Davis gain his first All-Star call up it's not just Pelicans fans who are eager to see what the freakish athlete can produce this time around.

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ESPN, taking into consideration injuries, last week ranked the forward/center as the third best player in the entire NBA and with Davis having added around 10 pounds of muscle to his already imposing frame during the offseason, this year could see the former Kentucky man move into the 'elite' group of NBA stars currently home to the likes of LeBron, Kevin Durant, and until recently that man Kobe Bryant.

The perfect game

The reason Davis stands a legitimate chance of joining those guys above? Because his all-round ability, in virtually every aspect of the game, means he is capable of doing what every one of them does so well.

He showed in a recent pre-season game for the Pelicans that he has added a Kobe-esque fade-away jumper to his repertoire - a worrying sight for opponents across the league.

Despite his 6ft 10 inch frame he is capable of matching the speed and athleticism of LeBron up and down the court - his defensive game improving at a rapid rate.

And he can score with the best of them too. In just his second year in the league, and with the prospects of New Orleans on his shoulders, Davis averaged 20.8 points per game. That's under five less than the notoriously accurate Kevin Durant managed at the same point in his career.

Throw in a phenomenal rebounding game,( he averaged 10 rebounds per game in 2013-14) both in finishing at the net and defending his own, and you can see why GMs across the league are plotting future moves.

Good company

Those kind of skills usually translate into pretty darn good stat lines when all is said and done, and, as you might have come to expect by now, Anthony Davis does not disappoint in that area either.

He is only the second player in NBA history to average over 20 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks per game aged 20 or younger. The only other player with those sort of stats in the NBA before they were legally allowed to drink was a certain Shaquille O'Neal.

And despite his age, Davis has put his head above the parfait and dragged the Pelicans to some for of respectability over the past two years. Only Magic Johnson (10.5) and LeBron James (14.3) had higher win shares that Davis (10.4) when 20 or under.

Start as you mean to go on

With Davis and the Pelicans beginning their season with a match up against a beatable Orlando Magic it is a safe bet to expect the prodigy to replicate, if not improve on, those measurables in game one of the season.

And while Kobe Bryant and the Lakers may provide some highlights during the other 81 games following tonight's action, the smart move would be to focus your attention of Anthony Davis instead if you want to get the inside track on the next genuine superstar this league has to offer.

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