(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Derick E. Hingle)
When we talk about the most dominant player in the NBA, LeBron James’ name comes to mind, and it has been that way for a very long time. King James may continue to inspire us with his stunning displays, but at 33 he is at the back end of his career and it is uncertain how much longer he can play at such a level.
There is a handful of young players with the potential to be the best player in the league when LeBron’s dominance subsides, with the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons among them. Davis should also be on that waiting list.
Let’s see why ‘The Brow’ might become the most dominant player in the NBA sooner than most expect.
Anthony Davis’ dominant regular season
Ever since being taken first overall back in the 2012 NBA Draft, many people saw the potential in Davis, but nobody knew how long it would take for him to be one of the best in the NBA. Perhaps injuries played a role in hindering his success early in his career, but it finally looks like New Orleans’ number 23 has put his injury woes behind him.
Health wise, the five-time All-Star took a major step forward this season, appearing in a career-high 75 games for the New Orleans Pelicans. Additionally, he has arguably been most dominant player in the NBA since the new year.
DeMarcus Cousins went down with a season ending injury in late January and many believed the Pelicans’ playoff hopes were dead in the water. But that only prompted Davis to take his game to next level as he almost single-handedly willed the Pelicans into the playoffs. He did that by going on and impressive run that saw him average 30.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in the 33 games Cousins wasn’t in the lineup
In February, Davis averaged 33.9 points, 13.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.3 steals per game. Including an impressive 45 points, 17 rebounds, five steals and five blocks against the Miami Heat, along with a season-high 53 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks against the Phoenix Suns. These are ludicrous stat line. Ludicrous.
Davis did not slow down in the first round of the playoffs, either. He averaged 33.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and close to 39 minutes per game in a dominating four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Is Davis just getting started?
Davis has just turned 25 and still has plenty of potential to get better.
For one, few players can guard him consistently, and he draws double-teams nightly yet still doesn’t have much trouble scoring. He is also one of the best defensive players in the NBA and will probably be a perennial contender to the win the Defensive Player of the Year award for the next few years.
There is no doubt about it – Davis is just getting started and in the process taking his team to new heights. It’s fair to say he is on the brink of becoming the most dominant player in the NBA and we might witness that as early as next season. Assuming that the core around him gets better, the Pelicans might even attract several more big-name free agents and become a serious contender.
Whatever happens, we are likely to look back on this season as the starting point of Davis’ pathway to greatness.
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