I’ve heard some analysts during all the pre-season hype and hysteria putting Anthony Davis’ name right up there as a dark horse for the 2015 MVP winner. Now, I don’t quite think that’s possible, as in order to take that crown, history dictates that you have to be from at least a Playoff Team; if not a top 2 or 3 team in your conference. Being in the West, and up against The Spurs, The Clippers, KD’s OKC and Curry’s Warriors to name a few, Davis is going to find it hard to carry the Pelicans to those lofty heights. But I don’t want his lack of MVP credentials to take away from how good I think this guy is! Last year, at 20 years old, Davis averaged 21 and 10 after the All-Star break; and on opening night against the Magic he dropped 26 points (10-of-22 shooting), 17 rebounds, nine blocks, three steals, and two assists in a 101-84 win. Yeah, that’s right, he almost got a triple double in blocks! Now, at 6’10” and with the wingspan of an albatross you’d imagine blocking shots is easy, but the most incredible physical gifts in the world won’t just make you a good shot blocker. What makes Davis so good at being a rim protector is how he feels the game out and has impeccable timing when it comes to going after an attempt. This led to him having the highest blocked shots average in the NBA last year at 2.8 per game.
But it’s not just his defence, he’s effective at both ends of the floor. The 26 points that he bucketed were all in the flow of the game. They came in the form of breakaway dunks, put-back dunks, midrange jumpers and just general hustle around the glass. But as well as his scoring, Davis ran the floor hard in transition, and hovered around the hoop so that nine of his 17 rebounds came on the offensive boards – with he and Asik combining for 16 offensive boards, which matched the entire Magic team! Now I know the Magic aren’t the strongest of opponents, and are probably going to end up as a lottery team come April, but these stats from Davis aren’t a fluke. He was putting up big numbers at the end of last year and was one of the stars of the FIBA World Cup this summer.
And it’s not just his eye-popping stat-lines, watch the video below and look at how he gets his numbers. He’s an athletic freak of nature.
To further accentuate Davis’ performance on opening night: only 3 players since 1985 have posted 20+ points, 15+ rebounds and 8+ blocks before turning 22. And those 2 players were 4x NBA Champion and 1x MVP Shaquille O’Neal, and 5x NBA Champion and 2x MVP Tim Duncan. Now that’s not bad company to be in. And if Davis keeps improving on the path that he is on and reaches anywhere near the elite levels of the aforementioned pair, he’ll be some player. So yeah, I’m backing the unibrow hard in 2014/15 – maybe not MVP, but depending on how deep the Bulls and Joakim Noah go in the playoffs, he’s my pick for defensive player of the year.