Going into his sophomore season, we should expect Anthony Davis to not only get more minutes, but more minutes at the center position. With the loss of 7-footer Robin Lopez and only Greg Stiemsma and rookie Jeff Withey backing him up, Davis will have to make himself more comfortable at the 5. Lucky for him, he’s played in the Team USA Mini-Camp with other young, larger centers including DeMarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and Larry Sanders. Although, according to the Team USA website, Davis hasn’t gained weight, clocking in at 220 lb., as he did during his rookie combine, he does look visibly stronger and probably added more muscle to his long, thin frame.
This year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Pelicans push the tempo much faster than they have in years past. Historically speaking, the Hornets were never a fast team. Even during the Chris Paul era, they were usually in the bottom half of the league in possessions per game. This attribute was even magnified after CP3 and under the helm of Monty Williams. Since Monty took over in 2010, the Hornets have been last in offensive pace 2 out of 3 years, and second to last in one. While we can’t expect Monty to completely alter his coaching style offensively, he does have more explosive, youthful, but still veteran, players at his disposal; a far cry from the immature Hornets rosters of recent years. I’m not insinuating that they will lead the league in offensive pace, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them break in at around the league average. I don’t think they’ll be in the bottom quarter.
Because Davis’s extreme growth spurt in the later half of high school made him the size he is today, he still has recent history of playing the point. He can move quickly down the court, even with the ball in his hands. An increase in offensive pace would undoubtedly serve Davis well, and with speedy Jrue Holiday running the point, we may see our own version of Lob City in the Crescent City.
The Pelicans will be adding above average shooters in Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Anthony Morrow to their already existing arsenal of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon. Better shooters on the team does mean less opportunities for rebounds. However, because of the lack of consistent bigs, much of the rebounding burden will fall on Anthony Davis’s shoulders. I expect Davis to break double digits in rebounding this season, somewhere between 10-12. While these may be lofty expectations to some, he will be getting more minutes and that prediction isn’t far from the 12.5 rebounds Dwight Howard averaged in his sophomore season. I also expect more offensive weapons for Davis, primarily a more consistent midrange jumper. Having more shooters on the floor will also give him more space to work with in the post. I look forward to Davis making many strides in 2013.
Here are my predictions: