How Historic Was Anthony Davis' Opening Night?
Anthony Davis already showed us that he's an NBA megastar waiting to happen when he posted one of the more ridiculous stat lines we've seen in years in 2013-14 - only his second season in the league.
Just how ridiculous, you ask? Well, there are a grand total of two other players in NBA history that have reached the heights that "the Brow" did last year in only their second NBA campaign (if you use his averages in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage as a baseline):
You might recognize those other two guys, considering they were two of the best centers, nay players to ever lace up a pair of basketball sneakers. That's some historically significant and amazing company for Davis to keep at this still very early juncture in his career. Even if you look at that table and think to yourself that his line is a shade below what the Dream and the Admiral were able to put up, don't sleep on the fact that the Brow pulled his numbers off in one to two fewer minutes per contest and at an age three to five years younger.
Just imagine what Davis will be able to do with another three to five years of development. Go on, take a minute.
Done? Frightening, isn't it? The kid might not actually have a ceiling.
The thing is, our imagination isn't even really needed anymore. For a sign of just where exactly his bright career is headed, look no further than the first game of the 2014-15 NBA season.
Last night, during a contest in which Davis' New Orleans Pelicans beat the Orlando Magic 101-84, the Brow posted an extra-early candidate for stat line of the year. Think that's hyperbolic? Take a look for yourself:
|Oct. 28th, 2014||PTS||FGM/FGA||FTM/FTA||REB||AST||STL||BLK||TOV|
There are too many impressive things going on there to count. The points are solid. The two assists and total lack of turnovers are a nice touch. The rebounds are where things start to get ridiculous, especially when you consider that a whole nine of them came on the offensive glass. The steal total is pretty crazy too, but it might even be overshadowed by the nine blocks. Nine blocks!
Efficient shooting games are often highlighted by glowing red shot charts to illustrate just how excellent the player in question was at shooting the ball. Well, Davis' "Block Party on Bourbon Street" last night deserves its very own block chart (courtesy of CBSSports.com's Zach Harper):
It's not like he was blocking the same player over and over again, or even the same type of shot. That's six different kinds of blocks on six different players, ranging from the point guard position (Elfrid Payton) all the way up to the Magic's center (Nikola Vucevic). We're quickly going to run out of superlatives to describe this kid, but that is simply sick.
Do you know what else could have an adjective associated with illness used to describe it? The company that stat line keeps in history, regardless of a player's age and what year of his career the game happened:
Hey look, Hakeem Olajuwon again. Anthony Davis might eventually defy historical comparisons, but for now, having one of the game's most legendary centers as a measuring stick should make for an exciting career arc. Oh, and Hakeem pulled off the first of those four monster stat lines at 24 years of age and Anthony Davis is still only 21.
His name is coming up all over the place as the next big thing, but it might be time to drop the word "next" all together.
The Brow has officially arrived as an elite NBA player, one of the absolute best in the game already. Get used to nights like these.