By Brandon Niles Explore Big Sky Sports Columnist
I’ve seen enough. The New Orleans Pelicans’ number one overall pick of 2012,
Anthony Davis, has clearly arrived. Only ten or so games into the 2013-2014 NBA
season and I’m convinced that Davis is a superstar.
The second year forward/center out of the University of Kentucky, has taken the
league by storm this season, averaging more than 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3.6
blocks per game. Those numbers put him in elite company, ranking him 16th, 6th and
2nd in the NBA, respectively.
Davis performed well last year, but looked like a rookie. He struggled with injuries
and averaged 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. This season, he’s starting to
look like one of the best players in the league.
While his success has not yet translated into wins for the Pelicans – who are near
the bottom of the Western Conference standings – his emergence as a phenomenal
two-way player is encouraging for New Orleans fans who saw their last superstar,
point guard Chris Paul, traded to the Clippers just two seasons ago. The emergence
of the 20-year-old Davis has brought excitement back to basketball fans in the Big
I know it’s early. Frontcourt players typically take a while to become elite and he’s
going to have to stay healthy to remain in the discussion as one of the top players
in the game. But Davis is playing as well as anyone right now and I consider him
second in the league at his position only to Kevin Love of the Minnesota
Davis looks like a young Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, effortlessly gliding
across the floor with great defensive instincts and a sweet 15-foot jump shot. It
seems only a matter of time before his production starts getting his team wins,
especially if All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday – acquired from the 76ers during the
offseason – returns to the form he showed a year ago in Philadelphia.
What makes Davis truly unique is his ball handling and shooting. He was a
6-foot-3-inch guard at the beginning of his junior year in high school before a 7-inch
growth spurt turned him into a frontcourt player. He now combines the talents of a
big man with the skill set of a guard.
Davis has also been lights out from the free-throw line, shooting better than 85
percent and making the act of fouling him near the basket a poor option for teams
trying to contain him. That’s the difference between Davis and other top big men
like Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Houston Rockets’ Dwight
Howard. When games get close, opposing defenses just foul players like Griffin and
Howard, forcing them to the free throw line where they don’t excel. That strategy
will only benefit the Pelicans as Davis buries free throws.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the Pelicans yet, I urge you to tune in. There’s no other word besides “superstar” to describe what Anthony Davis is doing on the court this season.