Anthony Davis Says He's Best Player in NBA Ahead of LeBron James, Kevin Durant

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MAY 06:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors shoots over Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at the Smoothie King Center on May 6, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis said Friday he ranks himself ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James and Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant as the best player in the NBA.

Davis made the statement during an interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols:

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

Anthony Davis says he’s the best player in the NBA - and yes, I asked him if he’s heard of LeBron & Kevin Durant. But AD points out he’s the only one if that group who was a finalist for both MVP and Defensive Player of the Year last season. https://t.co/gc2njPliyQ

The 25-year-old University of Kentucky product finished third in Most Valuable Player voting last season behind LeBron and the Houston Rockets' James Harden, the award's winner.

Davis averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 75 appearances for the Pelicans last season. That terrific across-the-board production allowed him to rank second to Harden in player efficiency rating, per ESPN.com.

Last month, the Chicago native caused a stir when he switched his representation to Klutch Sports, the same agency that handles James, prompting speculation that he could leave New Orleans.

"It was just for where I am right now in my career—what I'm trying to do—I thought the change was necessary," Davis told reporters. "That's all it was."

He'll head into the 2018-19 campaign second in betting odds for MVP (+450), per OddsShark. James is the favorite (+333), with the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (+500), Harden (+650) and the Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard (+950) rounding out the top five.

Davis and the Pelicans kick off the regular season Wednesday with a road game against the Rockets at Toyota Center.