It’s hard to imagine anyone having a more dominant month of February than New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis. For the month, Davis is averaging 35 points, 13 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 assists per game.
Averaging a double-double is no joke, but the 24-year-old big man is clearly a big reason why the Pelicans are streaking of late. Not only are they 8-3 in the month of February, but they’ve won seven straight games after a three-game losing skid early in the month — and Davis is clearly a big reason why.
In fact, he’s averaging nearly as many steals and blocks per night as he is turnovers (2.5) — which is an incredible feat unto itself.
Davis has also found a nice rhythm at the free-throw line (83.2 percent) and is shooting 50.7 percent from the field, and for a big man, he’s even found a little range from deep, sinking 34.2 percent of his 3-pointers.
His game against Phoenix on Feb. 26 was especially impressive, as he scored a season-high 53 points with 18 rebounds, five blocks and three assists. Perhaps the most staggering part was his 21-of-26 shooting from the free-throw line. That shows the difficulty in guarding Davis on the offensive end, as Dragan Bender, Alex Len and Marquese Chriss all fouled out.
The Suns had to resort to guarding him with Josh Jackson down the stretch, a 6-foot-8 small forward who gives up two inches to Davis in height and that’s without considering wingspan.
As you can see, most of Davis’ damage is done inside the paint. While Davis shoots for a respectable eFG% from beyond the arc and is only so-so from mid-range, it’s in the painted area where he’s particularly effective.
On a per-shot basis, Davis is averaging more points inside the paint than he even is from 3-point distance.
This is something Davis is well aware of, as he’s taken more shots inside the paint (562) than the rest of the court combined (421).
In short, Davis is the quintessential big man in today’s game. His inside presence is undeniable and he’s a terrific defender, but can also spot up and hurt teams from deep as well. That’s an awfully difficult player to defend.
By: Brandon Warne
Follow Brandon on Twitter @Brandon_Warne