With each game, the excitement around 21-year-old Anthony Davis continues to grow.
Davis has been the best player in the NBA over the first 12 games of the season.
He has posted a remarkable stat line: 26.3 points (2nd in the NBA), 57% shooting, 11.4 rebounds (5th), 2.2 steals (3rd), and 3.5 blocks per game (1st).
He’s also ranked No. 1 with a player efficiency rating (PER) of 35.6. To put that into perspective, LeBron James had with a 29.3 PER last year.
ESPN’s Marc Stein showed how Davis’ early season numbers rank all-time:
If Anthony Davis can average 25/10/3.5 for the season, he’ll join Kareem, The Admiral, Hakeem The Dream & Patrick Ewing in an exclusive club
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 24, 2014
As SB Nation’s Paul Flannery detailed, Davis is already scary good, and he’s only in his third year. In Flannery’s profile, he quotes an NBA insider who says he has never seen anything like Anthony Davis:
“He’s going to revolutionise the game,” one says. “We’ve never seen anything like him,” another offers. When asked the time honored question: Who would you take to start a franchise, a third responds, “You mean, besides Anthony Davis?”
Despite all of this, Davis is still relatively unknown to the casual fan. Over the weekend, in a game that would hardly been seen by much of the country, Davis put on a show against the Utah Jazz, scoring 43 points on 16-23 shooting to go with 14 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block.
After the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of defending Davis, “There isn’t really one way, you can say, ‘Hey, we’re going to defend him and take this away.'”
His list of highlights showing his versatility keeps growing. A running jumper off the glass, plus the foul? Check.
Two blocked shots on two different players on the same possession? Check:
A ridiculous put-back dunk that started at the three-point line? Check:
Pelicans head coach Monty Williams told Sam Amick, “Once we figure out how to get him the ball every single night, he could easily go for 40 (points) and 20 (rebounds).”
Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday said of Davis, “He obviously don’t have a ceiling. It’s fun to watch and be a part of. He can do everything. He has a counter for everybody’s counter.”
Despite putting up numbers that compare with Hall of Fame centres, as Paul Flannery notes, Davis’ most similar comparison is a young, in-his-prime Kevin Garnett. They were both elite defenders at age 21. However, Davis’ offensive production already tops what Garnett did with the Minnesota Timberwolves at the same age.
Davis will get his first national TV appearance of the season on TNT December 4 against the Golden State Warriors. At the rate he’s going, Davis may be a household name by then.
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