Early in a star player’s career, each year serves as steps towards becoming a championship caliber superstar. The rookie season for a first overall pick is usually to prove that they are worth the #1 pick honor. The sophomore season is to round out your game and add as many tools to your arsenal as possible; Making the playoffs is a bonus. The third season often becomes playoffs or bust. By now, you should have established your role, and thus helping your teammates/role players find theirs, and be able to lead your club to the postseason.
In Anthony Davis’s sophomore season, he will need to round out his game in a few ways. First and foremost, he must gain weight. This is most important, because it will help him to make other necessary improvements.
Davis is stellar in the fast break, but unfortunately last season, the Hornets were last in possessions per game at 92.0, and didn’t capitalize on this. The pace should pick up for the Pelicans with the likes of Jrue Holiday running the show. However, as the game winds down, possessions become slower and less frequent. Davis needs to have post moves and put his back to the basket down the stretch. Either he can capitalize on an isolation, or draw the double team and kick it to shooters like Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, or Anthony Morrow. If Davis can become a legitimate offensive threat in the post, he has the potential to add a very important aspect to his game: making his teammates better. He can make everyone else’s job easier by attracting defensive attention to himself.
He will have the potential to run a very dangerous pick and roll offensive with three different players; Holiday, Gordon, and Evans. I believe Davis, at 20 years old, can grow exponentially in his basketball IQ. The Pelicans’ pick and roll can be very potent with Davis’ athleticism, as well as potential improvements on the mid range jumper he showcased last season. As time goes on, Davis should be able to mold it into one of his go to weapons.
Davis must solidify his role and his position on the team. Last season, he would play both the 4 and the 5, which was allowed when Robin Lopez, a 7 footer, was on the team. With the Evans trade, the Pelicans front court is missing an important piece down low. Davis must be the one to fill this hole and will only be ready to if he’s gained weight. If he is to gain weight, improve his pick-and-roll offense, develop more post moves, and keep up the blocking prowess, he can easily become a top 5 Center in the NBA. Davis can not only become the defensive anchor down low, but this season he can also prove that he is the anchor of the New Orleans Pelicans.
At the end of the day, he is their future. The Pelicans will only go as far as Anthony Davis takes them.