I believe that it was inevitable that Anthony Davis was destined for greatness when he was drafted No. 1 overall by the then New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) in the 2012 NBA Draft. Now, he is proving his worth in the 2014 World Basketball Cup. In his only season at Kentucky, he was the reason the Wildcats won the NCAA title. He blocked 186 shots in 40 games (4.65 per game) and averaged a double-double (14 and 10) as a skinny freshman. Now he is becoming a man right before our eyes.
He just finished his second year in the NBA and averaged 20.8 ppg and 10 rpg, one of five guys to accomplish that feat this past season. Paul Gasol, Shawn Kemp, Kevin McHale, and Dirk Nowitzki have never averaged at least 20 ppg and 10 rpg in the same season. It took Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber four seasons, and Karl Malone and Charles Barkley two seasons to average at least 20 and 10. Also, Davis blocked nearly three shots per game (2.9) and shot 52% from the field. It took Nowitzki seven seasons accomplish that. Another crazy stat: Davis had more blocks last season (189) than Kevin Love has had in his entire career (173). He improved his scoring total by 35 percent (13.5 to 20.8), his rebounding total by 18 percent (8.2 to 10.0), and his block total by almost 36 percent (1.8 to 2.8). Hell, in two seasons, Davis has managed to put on at least 15 pounds, and it looks like it is all muscle. That’s tough for any athlete to do. Even if it’s not all muscle, Davis plays like it is.
He has always been a freak athlete. That’s why he is so good defensively. But his offensive game is starting to reveal itself.
Last season, he shot 79 percent from the free-throw line. That ranked him fifth among all power forwards. But his biggest improvement was his mid-range shooting. According to Vorped.com, as a rookie Davis shot 69-227 (30.4 percent) outside of the paint.
Last season, Davis made twice as many shots outside the paint than he did in his rookie season, 149-376 (39.6 percent). He made 16 more dunks while only missing three more attempts last season compared to his rookie season. His layup percentage went up 10 percent and his tip percentage went up two percent. Davis shot 65 percent on hook shots last season, compared to 43 percent his rookie season. Finally his “special jump shot” percentage (whatever Vorped considers a special jump shot), was an astounding 70.67 percent, up 20 percent from his first season. Even though his field goal percentage was a grand total of .3 percent better last season, he took a lot more shots (329 more) and attempted nearly twice as many free-throws compared to his rookie season.
It’s so clear that Davis is on his way to stardom. Aside from being a last-choice All-Star pick in 2014, Davis deserved that spot despite the game being held in the city of New Orleans. He is a once-in-a-generation player. His closest comparison is Garnett. But I think Davis has to ability to dominate more than Garnett was able to dominate. I think Davis could win a championship on his own in a few years.
Even if he can’t do it on his own, there is no denying that he is coming. He is next in line to be the face of the NBA. A lot of people won’t agree, but LeBron James is slowly handing over his spot to Kevin Durant, despite the fact Durant hasn’t won anything, yet. Davis will be 26-years-old in five seasons and might be well on his way to the Hall of Fame.
Barring any significant injury or tragedy, Davis will be driving this league in five years.
But for now, he will have to ride as a passenger.