Anthony Davis' Emergence Should Have the Entire NBA Frightened for the Future

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

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Anthony Davis is setting the NBA on fire.

We should have seen this coming. The double-doubles. The scoring outbursts. The block parties. We should have seen all of it coming. 

But not all of us did. Not this soon. Not after Davis was plagued by various injuries last season. Not when he played for a New Orleans Pelicans team with so much scoring potential, he didn't need to be a featured option.

Defense would be played, shots blocked and the occasional double-double had. Steals would come, too. Would Davis develop into a two-way star? This soon? No. He couldn't. If anything, he ran the risk of becoming a specialist, like so many other lanky bigs before him.

Fools. That's what some of us were. What I was. Shame on me for devaluing Davis, for believing he would take longer than a year to blossom. For doubting how much the Pelicans needed him on both ends of the floor.

Frightened. That's what the other teams should now be. They should fear Davis; dread the nights they have to play him. They should be shaking; wildly afraid.

Scared straight at the thought of him continuing to light the world ablaze, one daunting and superstar-esque outing at a time.

Too Much Fun With Numbers

Nov 6, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) drives to the basket against Memphis Grizzlies center Kosta Koufos (41) during the second half at FedExForum. New Orleans Pelicans defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-84. Man

New Orleans' one-eyebrowed wunderkind is a monster. Always has been. No big deal.

In 64 games last season, he went for 16.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per 36 minutes. Again, no big deal. 

Well, this isn't 2012-13 anymore. And Davis is no longer putting together a quiet string of impressive performances. This is 2013-14, and he's destroying the competition.

On the year, Davis is averaging 21.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 3.9 blocks per game.

Feast on his jumps in those categories thus far compared to last season:


Yeah, I know: it's early. But Davis isn't doing any one thing that is over his head. We already knew he could block shots, grab rebounds, force steals and go years at a time without tweezing. We already knew he could score, too.

What we didn't know is how he would handle increased playing time. Turns out it suits him.

As his responsibilities have increased, Davis has only gotten better. He's delivered.

"I mean, he's the franchise," teammate Jrue Holiday said, per the Associated Press (via USA Today). "He's that guy. He's the go-to guy and everybody here knows it."

Go-to guy? Already? Next to an All-Star like Jrue Holiday? For real?

For real. Davis already ranks second in win shares (1.6) behind Kevin Love, no small feat when you consider the Pelicans are 3-4 through their first seven games. Essentially, he accounts for more than half their wins—53.3 percent, to be exact.

Be afraid. Very afraid.

Fear the player who represented 22.6 percent of New Orleans' wins last season, even though he averaged under 30 minutes a night. And was a rookie.

Fear The Brow.

In Good Company

HOUSTON - JUNE 1:  David Robinson #50 of the San Antonio Spurs makes a move against Hakeem Olajuwon #34 of the Houston Rockets in Game Six of the 1995 NBA Western Conference Finals on June 1, 1995 at the Summitt in Houston, Texas.  Houston defeated San An

Respect The Brow as well, and all those sensational numbers he's registered. The ones that have put him in great company.

Only three players have recorded at least five double-doubles in 2013-14—Davis, Kevin Love and Chris Paul. Twelve players are currently maintaining a double-double average, one of whom is, again, Davis. 

More impressively, Davis is making history.

Following New Orleans' victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, he became the first player since David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1992-1993 to notch at least 15 points and three blocks in each of his team's first five games:

After a 32-point, six-block effort against the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis is now one of only three players since 1985—Patrick Ewing, Olajuwon and Robinson—to do so through his team's first six games of the year.

Davis has also joined Robinson as the only two players since 1985 to total at least 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, 130 blocks and 90 steals through the first 71 games of their career. 

This is for real. Davis is for real. None of it is exaggerated or manipulated. Less than two years into his NBA tenure, Davis has put himself in the company of legends and Hall of Famers.

Not that this is anything new. In Davis' rookie campaign, the one Damian Lillard cast a shadow over, he became just the second rookie in Association history to post per-36-minute averages of at least 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 steals and two blocks while actually logging more than 20 minutes a night. 

Davis is for real.
Davis is for real.

The other? Robinson, yet again.

Nothing of what we're seeing from Davis is a departure from his norm; it's not new. Since entering the league, he's consistently placed himself next to Hall of Famers. Alongside legends. Separated himself from almost everyone else.

Great players always do. 

One of a Kind

Nov 2, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) against the Charlotte Bobcats during the first quarter of a game at New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

A depicted sleaze bucket once dropped baskets of knowledge on Batman, er, I mean, Bruce Wayne.

"This is a world you'll never understand," he said. "And you always fear, what you don't understand."

Imagine my chagrin when I realized he wasn't talking about a certain unibrowed athlete who would make his NBA debut nearly a decade later, though he might as well have been.

We don't understand Davis. Not really. There's no one quite like him in the league right now. Stretch forwards/centers who can pass, handle and score the rock while filling up on rebounds, blocks, steals, rotations and more on the defensive end don't come around often. Or ever.

Name one big man in the NBA as versatile as Davis. Go ahead; try it. You'll fail. Those who are drawn to Kevin Garnett are close, and would have been even closer six years ago, but they're not there. Tim Duncan? Same deal. 

Davis, right now, is one of a kind. There isn't a big man in the league capable of doing what he can do, supplied with the talent to impact every area of the game, from every spot on the floor, the way he is.

There is no one like him.

"He's got a good shooting touch," Pau Gasol said after bearing witness to Davis' all-encompassing skill set, via the AP. "He's got a complete package for his second year in the league. It's pretty impressive."

Impressive only scratches the surface. Davis is more than that. Doesn't mean he's the best big in the NBA, because currently, he's not. But he could be. One day, sometime soon, he could be better than Dwight Howard. And Love. And Marc Gasol. Better than any other 4 or 5 in the NBA.

That much, the rest of league must understand about Davis. Everything else, it won't. So opposing teams and fellow players will fear him instead, because you always fear what, fear who, you don't understand.

Especially when the person you don't understand is dominating a world you thought you knew.

*All stats in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise attributed and are accurate as of Nov. 11, 2013.


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