Why Anthony Davis Is Worth Every Penny of His New Contract
It doesn't take stats for NBA fans to figure out that Anthony Davis is
becoming an NBA superstar. All it takes is a TV and (most of the time) NBA League Pass.
It's easy to see the amount of basketball greatness Davis possesses just by watching the way he plays the game. He scores inside and out, he rebounds the ball with authority, he blocks and influences shots like crazy and he even gives us fans highlight plays. Oh, and he's working on developing a consistent three point shot.
The NBA is in trouble. Anthony Davis is a good and healthy supporting cast away from a playoff tear.
These are all reasons why the Pelicans decided to give Anthony Davis a five-year extension worth in excess of $145 million, which now stands as the richest contract in NBA history.
If film and my word aren't enough (and they should be), here are three numbers to explain why the Brow is worth every penny he's owed, and why New Orleans will be getting a big return from Mr. Davis.
First of all, Anthony Davis is only 22 years old -- and to be specific, Davis just turned 22 in March so he's not even on the wrong side of 22 (if there is one). The last player to receive this kind of money even close to age 22 was Derrick Rose, who signed a five-year, $94 million extension in 2011 at the age of 23.
Yes, we all know about Derrick Rose's injury problems but Davis is a much bigger and stronger guy at 6'10" 220 pounds and hasn't had any nagging injury concerns close to what Derrick Rose has had with his knees. Davis has had his fair share of injuries, as he's missed 47 games over his first three seasons in the league. However, you also must account for the fact that New Orleans had had no one else of Davis' caliber to protect over the years. They expected Davis to become this franchise player he's become today, so they played it safe.
It's also encouraging that Davis has had a gradual rise in games played per year as he played in just 64 games his rookie season compared to 68 games this past season -- and that's while playing more than 36 minutes per contest. The Pelicans will welcome this trend as AD's years go on in the Big Easy.
Anthony Davis just experienced his first four playoff game appearances. And he did so without a fully healthy Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday, the Pels' two starting guards with whom Davis can give opposing defenses fits on the pick and roll. As a result, the Pelicans were swept in this year's first round by the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
But none of that had anything to do with Anthony Davis. In fact, Davis was the reason New Orleans lost by an average margin of 8 points -- just 8 points, to the league MVP Stephen Curry and possibly one of the best teams since Jordan's Bulls. Wow!
With that being said, Davis got four solid NBA playoff games under his belt against one of the best teams he might see over the entirety of his NBA career. The value of that is unquantifiable, but the Pelicans rightfully thought it was worth a whole lot of wins and therefore worth a whole lot of money.
By now, we've probably all heard that Anthony Davis' Player Efficiency Rating of 30.8 this year is the 11th-best PER of all time. He also became the first player not named LeBron James to reach or exceed 30 since Dwyane Wade did it in 2008.
But that's the regular season. In the NBA (and I'd expect all professional sports leagues), the playoffs are everything. So since that's the case, we should be focusing more of our attention on AD's ridiculous playoff PER of 28.5.
It may be more than two points lower than his regular season rating but Davis was even better in the playoffs than he was in the regular season with, as I mentioned before, very limited resources around him against the best team in the league. His PER was better than that of both LeBron James and Stephen Curry and was the single best PER of anybody in the entire playoffs. How did he do that?
Well it's quite simple actually.
You just average 31.5 points -- on 54% shooting -- 11.0 rebounds (2.3 offensive), 2.0 assists, 3.0 blocks and 1.3 steals in a mere 43 minutes per game with a Usage Percentage of 30.8%. I mean you don't do that, but that's what Anthony Davis had to do to accomplish that, and with his outstanding skillset, I wouldn't put it past him to do it again.
That's just three reasons why Anthony Davis is worth every penny of everything the Pelicans are set to pay him. He's set to be a perennial MVP candidate who has the ability to take the Pelicans to the playoffs and beyond for many years to come. What that return is worth -- who knows?
But for now, at least to the New Orleans Pelicans, it's worth a whole lot.