Anthony Davis is coming off a very successful rookie season, in which he averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 blocks in only 64 games. Fortunately for the Pelicans, he is only going to get better as he continues to get bigger and stronger. Adding a healthy Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, and All-Star Jrue Holiday will help take some of the offensive burden off of Davis’ shoulders.
Last year, Davis posted the 5th highest player efficiency rating among qualifying power forwards in the NBA, and also had the highest among all rookies, with an incredible 21.08 PER. In fact, it wasn’t even close in terms of rookie PER’s, as second place rookie of the year Damian Lillard posted a 16.45 PER, which was almost five points less than Davis. Davis also ranked 9th among qualifying power forwards in the NBA in EWA, estimated wins added, which is actually better than Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, and Pau Gasol. While simple stat lines don’t make his season sound great, saber-metrics truly show how efficient and valuable Davis was when on the court.
This preseason, it seems as if he just got even better. We have seen the vast improvement as Davis has lead the Pelicans to an undefeated record in the preseason while putting up 24.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and an incredible 2.9 blocks in only 27.8 minutes per contest. He has been shooting 56% from the field and 81% from the charity stripe. As long as all the pieces around Davis (Gordon, Evans, and Holiday) stay healthy, they’ll be able to create good floor spacing for Davis on isolation post-ups.
Davis’ athleticism is yet another one of the many things he brings to the table. He frequently grabs the defensive board, hits the outlet, and runs to the block for an easy two points. He is also a very good finisher down low, as he shot 62% from ten feet and closer. Anthony Davis has everything it takes to be the next dominant big man, but the real question is can he stay healthy? We’ll all find out soon enough.