Over the course of the past few weeks we have learned a lot of things about the NBA playoffs. Shooting is vital, Lance Stephenson is crazy and most importantly it is hard to make a deep run without a top 15 player in the league on your roster.
The problem for many NBA teams is finding that guy, but luckily in New Orleans that key cog is already present in 20-year-old Anthony Davis.
While some would argue that Anthony Davis is not yet in this tier of players whose abilities vault a team above their actual talent level and potentially eventually into title contention, a look at his numbers show that the potential is clearly there, and may be here sooner than originally expected.
In only his second year in the league Davis averaged 20.8 points per game, and 10 rebounds per game and 2.8 blocked shots which led the league.
Davis was one of only four players in the league this season who averaged 20 and 10 this season and finished in the top 15 in both scoring and rebounding, things any great big man should be good at. Davis joined Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, and LaMarcus Aldridge in those categories, by all accounts good company to be in.
Defensively no one blocked shots at a better rate this year than the Brow. His closest competition was Serge Ibaka, who is in many circle is regarded as the league’s best shot blocker, averaged just a notch below Davis with 2.7 per game, and DeAndre Jordan blocked 2.5 shots per game this season to finish in third.
At the age of 20 years old, Anthony Davis has already been a major factor in why the Pelicans have increased their winning percentage two years in a row. In fact with a healthier team around Davis, New Orleans could have been more of a factor in the Western Conference than they were all season.
Part of the Pelicans success obviously has a large part to do with Davis and his extremely large impact on a game. When the Pelicans won, Davis’ numbers were startling as he averaged 22.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 3.6 blocks per game. His advanced stats tell a similar tale of impact as he posted a defensive rating of 99, an offensive rating of 126 and a true shooting percentage of 60.8 percent in wins.
However in loses Davis,played much more average. His true shooting percentage dropped to 56 percent, his offensive rating fell to 113, and his defensive rating rose to 110. One of the biggest drops was in blocks which fell to just 2.2 per game in loses, 1.4 lower than in the games the Pelicans won.
All in all, people will have differing opinions on where Anthony Davis. With many more things left to prove to the fans, and players of the league, everyone should be excited about where he will soon be.