21 years old and already so dominant
The rankings of the various individual statistical categories of this NBA season leave no room for doubt: at 21, Anthony Davis is already one of the best players in the league. At his post, as in a more global way. The interior of the New Orleans Pelicans ranks in the top 10 for averages in points (3rd), rebounds (9th), blocks (1st) and percentage of success on shots (7th). Ninth in the league in total number of interceptions (48), Davis sits above all at the top of the statistical tool determining a player’s contribution and efficiency, the Player Efficiency Rating, with a “PER” of 32, 5 which would make it the best season in history on that front. All while being “only” 16th in terms of minutes played. “It does not hurt you in a particular sector, analyzes Ryan Hollins, the pivot of the Sacramento Kings. It hurts you all over. “
A rising star, an ambition in tune
In his third NBA season, Davis is gradually sporting a superstar profile. Ahead of the start of the season, a survey of league general managers placed him second (tied with Kevin Durant and behind LeBron James) of the players they would pick first to build a franchise today. A popular basketball blog, The Friendly Bounce, launched the “Anthony Davis Alert” to keep abreast of his exploits. Another indication of a rising profile: the Pelicans have aligned his security with that of the stars of the NBA. The star is climbing. And she wants more. “I want to be in the conversation about the best player in history,” he said in Sports Illustrated. I am in no way close to it today. But that’s the goal I want to achieve. “
Already an MVP season?
With 24.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3 blocks on average per game, Anthony Davis has one of the best seasons in history for a 21-year-old. To the point of being able to claim the title of MVP (best player)? If the results of his Pelicans in a tight-knit Western conference should do him a disservice, many are already making him a serious contender for the highest individual honor. “He’s a wonderful player, he’s a candidate for the MVP title,” confirms Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs. “He’s a monster,” says Joakim Noah, the NBA’s best defenseman last season, in an interview with ESPN. There aren’t a lot of things he can’t do on a pitch. He influences the game in a number of ways. He’s a crazy talent. “
A student (applied) of his own game
Not the type to rely on his talent, Anthony Davis does not hesitate to infuse himself with long video sessions at his home in Metairie (Louisiana) to watch his own matches and point out his faults. Even if it means rewinding the same sequence several times if necessary. An activity sometimes shared with passing friends. “They comment on all his dunks,” said Russ Smith, rookie and Davis teammate at the Pelicans. He is looking for his mistakes. It makes sense, therefore, to discover that the boy always arrives before his teammates in training. Or to learn that he returned to the gym… 48 hours after his world gold medal with Team USA this summer.
A profile like “an invention of God”
At the beginning of December, Anthony Davis was entitled to the honor of the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. In a long article, journalist Lee Jenkins looks back on the sporting rise of the Pelicans interior. With laudatory words which sum up the status gradually taken by the person concerned: “Davis is the invention of a God who had already made Kevin Durant and decided to be even more creative. »A dithyrambic sentence explained by his unique athletic profile: a giant body with the perfect attributes of a modern interior (listed at 2.08m for 100 kg, even if he announces that he is today at 111 thanks to the work of bodybuilding , with a perfect arm span to counter… 2.31m!) mixed with movements and mastery of a rear, up to dribbling between the legs, a legacy of his youth. His teammates like to compare him to an elastic toy. “You can shoot him anywhere,” confirms point guard Jrue Holiday. He will catch up with her. An already fatal weapon which should still do damage for many years to come.
A registered trademark single eyebrow
This is often the first thing laypersons notice when viewing the boy in the picture. The monosourcil (“unibrow” in the language of Shakespeare). Emmanuel Chain of the parquet floors, Anthony Davis has made of his special hairiness a marketing and commercial asset. After having signed with Arn Tellem and the Wasserman Media Group to represent him as his agents in June 2012, the number 1 of the draft of the same month will file in the wake of the commercial rights of the slogans “Fear The Brow” and “Raise The Brow” . A single eyebrow as a registered trademark, you had to think about it. Davis did it.
Tim Duncan, this model
Game intelligence, mastery of fundamentals, humility, hard work, the ability to change the game of a game all by himself, the parallels between Anthony Davis and the illustrious Tim Duncan – for many the best winger in the history of the NBA – are multiplying. Former House Spurs Dell Demps and Pelicans general manager and coach Monty Williams even admit taking inspiration from the way San Antonio handled the 1997 Draft No. 1 career to shape the Draft No. 1 career. 2012. Until in the way of building the workforce around him. A comparison that is found in an anecdote that says a lot. Aware of his chance to evolve in the NBA, Davis sometimes interrupts the time-outs of Pelicans matches to say aloud: “You realize that this is what I wanted to do all my life and that am I really doing it? “Monty Williams then always remembers what his young teammate Tim Duncan whispered to him on the Spurs bench in the late 90s:” Dude, we get paid to do that … “
One year at university, a title in my pocket
Recruited by the shaping of future NBA stars, John Calipari, to evolve at the University of Kentucky, Anthony Davis will spend only one year on the Lexington campus before giving in to the sirens of the lucrative NBA. A season during which the interior will bend over backwards to learn from the staff and lead the Wildcats to the national title (he will be voted best player of the Final Four) despite a relatively modest production (14.2 points per game). Enough to amaze Calipari: “Sometimes he would do things that made me sit on my bench. “
Gold in shambles on the international scene
Selected by the Team USA staff for the London Olympics in 2012, at the age of 19, Anthony Davis will fulfill his role of bench end player without complaint (3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for 7, 6 minutes on average). Two years later, the interior is one of the basic men of American success at the World Cup in Spain, where he dominates the debates in rackets: third scorer (12.3) and second rebounder (6.6) of a titled American team without trembling. Already awarded several titles of “player of the year” during his only university season, Davis has also added to his collection some individual bonuses in the NBA: second in the vote of rookie (beginner) of the year in 2012-2013 behind Damian Lillard, inside the Pelicans took part in the All-Star Game last season. A 2013-2014 exercise he finished best blocker in the league (2.82 per game) and third in the election of the “player with the most progress”.
An always attentive dad
Raised in Chicago’s South Side ghetto, Anthony Davis saw his father, Anthony Davis Sr, a carpenter, build him a basketball court in the backyard of the family home to save him the trouble of playing on the playgrounds and hanging out. in the streets. Years later, the father continues to send encouraging texts to Anthony before every NBA game: “Have fun. And always involve your team. Words of a humble leader that fit well with the attitude of the dad when we compare his son to the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon. Anthony Sr is content to frown or roll his eyes…
A course far from superstar standards
Product of the US school system, where sport takes an important place, the stars of the NBA have often been in the spotlight since childhood. Anthony Davis, on the other hand, did his high school years at Wolves of Perspectives High School, a school that competed for the least successful championship of this age category in Chicago and where training took place in a church and then in a cafeteria. Not enough to make it spotted by recruiters from the largest universities despite growth which has seen it go from 1.87m to 2.08m in two years. At the end of his third year at Perspectives, only one college offered him a scholarship: Cleveland State. His first match with the MeanStreets team on the AAU circuit, in the spring of 2010, will change everything. A scout records a video of the prodigy which he transmits to several university coaches. The latter fell under the spell and his career was launched. At Perspectives, Anthony will learn how to become a leader (he notably monitors the notes of his teammates, whom he shouts in case of absence from training). And will complete his technical background by taking on the role of leader-back to compensate for the shortcomings in these positions. Above all, he learned how to lose in a team at a not-so-good overall level: “It was hard to live with but I knew that would make me a better leader. ”
A star who remains a young person of his age
Already star of the NBA at 21 years old, is Anthony Davis still a boy of his age? To listen to the testimonies, yes. With Russ Smith, his Pelicans teammate, the interior often has fun drawing … cartoon characters. In the New Orleans locker room, Anthony is the great specialist in magic tricks and has fun giving nicknames to pre-match dishes. At home, he likes to use his pool table and remains curious about the world around him. Last season, invited to the kitchen by the manager while he was having dinner in a restaurant in New Orleans, Anthony decided… to help the staff fill up pies! Quite the opposite of the big head effect.