Month-by-Month Predictions for Anthony Davis' Rookie Season
The 2012 NBA draft was one that will long be remembered. Although one could argue that the batch of stars was thin, the depth of the class was unlike anything in recent memory.
At the forefront of this infusion of youth was National Player of the Year and former Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis.
For the season, Davis posted averages of 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 4.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. He also made 62.3 percent of his field-goal attempts, thus leading to the undeniable argument that he was the best player in the nation.
The question is, how will he fare at the NBA level?
The following slides will offer a month-by-month breakdown of Davis' rookie season. From the key games to the statistical performances, the rush for the Rookie of the Year award will be decided on a month-by-month basis.
So, how will Davis progress?
On October 31, Anthony Davis made his NBA debut against Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. Davis posted an impressive stat line of 21 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal.
On the heels of such a hot debut, fans may be inclined to believe Davis is in store for a 20-point-per-game season. During his opening month in the league, however, Davis' offense will come back down to Earth.
Davis will be faced with elite interior opponents, such as the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz. With David West, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Serge Ibaka, Andrew Bynum, Luis Scola and Paul Millsap on the slate, Davis could struggle.
He could also prove his worth, which is why there will be a statistical balance in his performances.
In time Davis could become one of the league's best defenders, but expect a player like Carmelo Anthony to get the best of him during the first month of his career.
Davis could pad the stat sheet against the Charlotte Bobcats and Houston Rockets. With questionable rebounders in Ryan Anderson and Robin Lopez beside him, expect Davis to thrive on the glass against all competition.
All in all, he will average a near double-double in October.
14.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.7 BPG, 0.8 SPG
As Anthony Davis enters his second month in the league, his statistics will see a slight decrease across the board. Although this may appear illogical, Davis will be faced with his greatest competition yet.
More importantly, he will learn that NBA franchises will begin to game plan for his offensive and defensive abilities.
That leads to matchups against Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Zach Randolph, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Serge Ibaka, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan. Consider this ensemble of All-Star talent to be too much for Davis to handle as they target his learned weaknesses.
He won't perform poorly, but there will be some games in which he struggles.
With that being said, Davis is in store for a stretch of games that could help him increase the pace of his development. A.D. will be faced with elite NBA talent and will both struggle and thrive in the face of adversity.
Consider this to be the month in which Davis learns what it means to play at a stacked position.
13.4 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.8 SPG
As the new year rolls around, the New Orleans Hornets will hope to have developed team chemistry and for a healthy Eric Gordon. Robin Lopez will be posting career-best numbers, Austin Rivers will have carved out a role at either guard position and Anthony Davis will step up the D.
He'll also become a more consistent rebounder and learn how to handle the elite athleticism at the position he plays.
That's elite athleticism in Smith and the most sound fundamentals at the position with Garnett and Nowitzki. No matter how great a shot-blocker Davis may be, no one swats Dirk's fade-away.
A majority of Davis' opponents will be familiar foes, however, which offers the opportunity for him to study the tendencies of his positional rivals. He will begin to flash the defensive form that made him the top pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
Instead of mere shot blocks, Davis' versatility, footwork and positioning will help to alter more attempts than he swats.
14.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.8 BPG, 0.9 SPG
The month of February will be none too kind to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets. The team has a stiff schedule ahead of it, with seven games on the road.
Of those road games, the opponents include the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. That's Josh Smith, Kenneth Faried, Kevin Love and Serge Ibaka on the schedule.
The Hornets' home games include the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns. The Bulls and Mavericks both have elite defensive units; Tom Thibodeau and Rick Carlisle can draw up a game plan as well as any.
As for the Nets and Suns, the rebounding prowess of Kris Humphries and European style of play of Luis Scola could stunt Davis' performances. What we will learn in February, however, is that Davis plays up to the level of his opponents.
Expect a monster rebounding month and a well-rounded statistical output. Also look for Davis to anchor a handful of upsets for the underrated Hornets.
14.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.8 BPG, 0.8 SPG
The New Orleans Hornets have 15 games during the month of March. Those games include battles with the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers.
The potential opponents include Kevin Garnett, Kris Humphries, Kenneth Faried, David Lee, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Zach Randolph, LeBron James, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Anthony Davis will have a month to prove his legitimacy. With the game's best players at the power forward position on the horizon, A.D. will have a chance to seal the deal on the chase for the Rookie of the Year award.
An opportunity that he will make the most of.
Davis will put up his best stat line yet, but his team will fizzle out as a postseason contender.
Numbers never lie, and these ones suggest that Davis has reached the level of elite.
15.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.9 BPG, 0.6 SPG
The month of April presents Anthony Davis with just eight games to make his final case. Those games will come against the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and twice against the Dallas Mavericks.
That's eight games of elite power forward opponents to close out Davis' season. So how will he fare?
In that time, Davis will have the best stretch of his young career.
The final month of the season will provide a launching pad for what could be a great 2013-14 campaign. Whether this clinches the Rookie of the Year award is questionable.
What this month will do, however, is build momentum for an outstanding career.
18.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.9 BPG, 0.8 SPG
Anthony Davis' rookie season will be one of uncanny consistency. Davis will produce at virtually the same level in each passing month, leading to common consideration for the Rookie of the Year award.
Most importantly, it will bring Davis to a level of respect that most rookies are unable to achieve.
Davis' season averages will sit at 14.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.8 blocks and 0.8 steals per game. This will reflect how dominant a force he can be on defense, as well as the well-rounded nature of his offensive arsenal.
A big man who can handle the ball, drive the lane and score from the post is respectable. One who can dominate the game in other ways when his shots aren't falling, however, is worthy of the label of "elite."
That is the level that Anthony Davis will approach during his first year in the league.
2012-13 Season Averages
14.9 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.8 BPG, 0.8 SPG