Anthony Davis’ contracted five-year warm up and fluffy NBA introduction with the New Orleans Pelicans is an eye blink in what will be an illustrious and lengthy career.
It’s the calm before the storm. The young Don getting his feet wet and getting acclimated with carrying a heavy torch. The Tower With the Power still mastering his NBA Jedi gifts and harnessing his unprecedented combination of height, athleticism, handle and speed.
At the same time, he’s bringing respectability to a franchise that won’t be nearly as competitive as their current 10-10 record in the powerhouse Southwest conference, when he’s a distant memory. Davis’ quality time with New Orleans is the booming baseline that precedes a resounding crescendo known as “The Brow Mound of Rebound.”
The 6-foot-10, freak of nature won a c’hip at Kentucky by strictly dominating dudes on defense. His new-age, multi-faceted NBA game has taken front and center, but it’s clear that Davis has some throwback Bill Russell in him. His college resume as a freshman reads like Patrick Ewing’s. Like the Hoya Destroyer, Davis was a rare No. 1 pick. A long, statuesque post player with menacing D, who hit the league with purpose and blossomed into an all-around ball buster.
At Georgetown back in the 80s, Ewing was single handedly changing the culture of basketball and preparing for an illustrious career in NY, the media capital of the world, AKA "the land of hyped heroes and guillotined-losers". Nobody expected the 7-0 footer from Jamaica to have Kareem-Abdul Jabbar scoring swag. After all, in college he was simply known as the impenetrable force and the great intimidator
Davis not only won the 2012 National Title for Kentucky and legitimized John Calipari as an elite sideline stalker, but he locked the game while dropping just six points against Kansas. He shot 1-for-10 from the field. He didn't record his first and only field goal until there were 5 minutes, 14 seconds left on the game clock, yet his unique and incomparable all-around contributions on defense allowed him to become the fourth freshman in NCAA history to win MOP honors.
Davis blocked or altered 15.7 percent of the Jayhawks' two-point attempts in the title game and 18.2 percent of Kentucky's opponents' shots inside the arc throughout the entire tournament. His 29 blocks are the second-most in a single NCAA tournament. He also helped the Wildcats set a record for blocks (11) in a national title game.
He came out the shoot averaging 13 and 8 as a newbie and 20 and 10 as a second year player, immediately asserting himself and exhibiting the scoring potential scouts raved about. His squad still finished fifth in the division both seasons and won a combined 61 games.
Now, you see his name mentioned more frequently at the opening of national sports shows. This is the come up for the young future legend. The time he’ll reflect on as the innocent moments of his career when his game was as green as his max-money pockets grew to be and he was as naive to the importance of his presence as he was dedicated to becoming the total package. He’s building the expectations. It will never be as easy for him to be loved as it is now.
In a few years, when he’s playing alongside Carmelo Anthony in The Garden or in his hometown of Chi-Town or with some superstar conglomerate—and his worth as a ball player is solely based on titles—his baby years in the Bayou will seem like wet dreams in a lifetime of hardcore court pounding and experimental dominance.
It's Bobby Brown’s career with New Edition before he became The King of Stage and started blazing Tenderoni’s at a rapid rate.
Or Bobby "V" Wilson when he dropped Blackberry Molasses in 1996 as the young singing sensation of an obscure Georgia-bred group called Mista. (Side note: Peep the Terrance Mathis #81 Atlanta Falcons jersey at the 3:00 mark). Classic like Jurassic.
That effort was over 15 years ago. Way before Bobby Valentino grew up and became a breakthrough artist, killing the charts on Timbaland-inspired joints.
Pelicans fans need to cherish the moment. They lost the ninth ward a decade ago, but in the year of Obama they gained a Top 5 player in the league.
That highly-anticipated 2016 free agent class with KD and LBJ if he opts out, also includes Davis and it’s a snowball's chance in hell of him re-signing with the Pelicans. The state can't fit his ever-increasing shoe size.
Davis has already been an Olympic gold-medalist (2012) and NBA All-Star but his game hasn’t peaked. The better the Pelicans play, the more you learn about “The Brow” and how this KG-TD-CB hybrid gets down for his crown. The more you watch him play and realize he’s still going to give it to ya’ raw with no trivia, like cocaine straight from Bolivia—the more excited you get for the future
Davis leads the NBA with a 33.2 player efficiency rating and is the only guy in the league who ranks in the top 10 in points (24.8), rebounds (10.6), blocks and steals per game, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
He is also shooting over 57 percent from the floor and phasing out past legends with every rim-rocking flush and highlight reel gem.
Davis scored eight of his 23 points in the final 6 minutes of the fourth quarter as the Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe “The Barometer “Bryant 104-87 on Sunday night. Then on Tuesday night he was dunking, stunting, boarding and swatting on the NY Knicks in a 104-103 Pelicans win over the NBA's doormat on Tuesday.
"He's just special. Nothing fazes him," Pelicans HC Monty Williams said. "He had a subpar game for him last night — and I say that jokingly when you look at his numbers. But he didn't play as well as he can play. So for him to come back and close out this game the way that he did — I mean, he's just 21 years old. And when he's 23 to 27, we're going to see something the league has never seen."
That’s a fair and realistic assertion. We know hyperbole is a part of the common language in these social-media enhanced days, but Davis is showing all the signs of a guy who’s going to shit on the league for two decades.
Possibly even become the face of the NBA one day. Some premature ejaculators are already anointing son, but he’s going to have to go through the levels just like every other wanna be king baller.
It seems he’s on his way to locking up the first prerequisite to being called the game’s top shotta; an MVP award. However, his quick rise to stardom contrasts with the often incremental and torturous struggle for a coveted c’hip. Being individually great doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to taste the ultimate fruits of team success.
Davis is undoubtedly the real deal, but I don’t need to throw a lot of pointless numbers around to justify his exclusive skill-set. He’s not one of the greatest anything ever yet, so to take off my draws and engage in an analytics orgy would be a go-hard maneuver.
The NBA is like the hoe stroll in any of your favorite metropolitan areas and the fans are the Johns. Every day a candidate for greatest something ever surfaces. A handful of elite players each get a moment where the sheep are aligned and agreeable to boosting a particular favorite son to mythical heights. Often times well before that lofty praise is deserved.
Too bad Davis plays for the Pelicans. I mean, even a second-tier market team would get him more prime time shine. Honestly, part of Davis’ allure and popularity is the fact that unless you have the NBA cable package or live in New Orleans, you’re lying if you say you see more than two Pelicans games a season. You get what we all get, a steady does of cable network highlights. It won’t be like this for long. Two years from now the NBA will be on Davis overload. If his desire continues to match his talent—and his confidence—we may have found King James’ successor already.
It makes you smile to see yourself becoming the player you want to be,” Davis told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. “When people talk about the greatest ever, I want to be in that conversation. I’m nowhere close to it. No...where...close. But it’s where I want to go.”