Pelicans Offseason Update: Anthony Davis

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer

Leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, Pelicans.com will provide a player-by-player examination of the New Orleans Pelicans, with input from various sources. We’ll review the 2012-13 campaign of each New Orleans player who appeared in at least half of the team’s games, while also looking ahead to the inaugural 2013-14 Pelicans season. Pelicans.com begins its offseason updates by profiling 20-year-old Anthony Davis, the first overall pick from last year’s NBA draft:

Anthony Davis
Key averages: 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.75 blocks in 64 games (60 starts).

WHAT HAPPENED
As one of the most discussed draft prospects to come out of the college ranks in recent years, outside expectations for Davis were sky-high. For example, in a widely-reported quote, Hall of Fame head coach Larry Brown told ESPN.com that “When (Davis) enters the draft, the team that gets him is gonna win over 50 games.” New Orleans had much more realistic short-term goals for the 19-year-old, however. The 6-foot-10, 220-pounder averaged 28.8 minutes per game, which was less than three other rookies. But what he accomplished in his time on the floor provided plenty of reason to believe that he’s destined for stardom. The University of Kentucky product ranked 15th in the NBA in player-efficiency rating, averaging 18.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per 40 minutes. He also averaged 1.75 blocks per game, a statistic that will likely continue to increase as he adds muscle to his frame. Though it went mostly unnoticed among the other attention-grabbing aspects of Davis’ skill set, he also showed improvement at the foul line, making a jump from 70.9 percent in college up to 75.1. The toughest part of Davis’ debut was that he missed a total of 18 games over three separate stretches (concussion, shoulder, knee). New Orleans went just 4-14 in those absences.

BEST GAME
Davis produced six 20-and-10 games as a rookie, making it difficult to narrow down, but his most effective performance of 2012-13 in terms of efficiency and production probably was a 28-point, 11-rebound outing at Milwaukee on Nov. 17. Davis scored those 28 points while taking just 13 shots from the field, going 10-for-13. He also was 8-for-9 from the foul line against the Bucks.



FIRST PERSON COACH’S TAKE FAN FEEDBACK
“I thought I did pretty well. There were more things that I could have improved on individually and as a team. What I am looking forward to is the offseason, to start working and getting better, try to change things around next season. I want to continue to do the same things I do now – and more. Running the floor, rebounding, playing around the basket. The things that make me better and make my team better. If I continue to do that, and add whatever Coach Monty wants me to add, I think we can be pretty good.” - Anthony Davis “Anthony – even though people thought he was supposed to be LeBron James (in his first NBA season) – we thought he had a really good year, because he started off a bit shaky with the injuries and a bit unsure of himself. The way he (played prior to his knee injury) was pretty good. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t get to finish out the year, but I’m glad he ended on a good note, like Austin (Rivers) did. We’ll look at it more this summer and break down his year and try to figure out what we can do to help the young guys get in better shape this summer. I think a lot of the injuries for the young guys were because their bodies weren’t ready for this (NBA grind).” - Monty Williams After watching Anthony Davis throughout his rookie season, what are you most excited about in terms of his future in the NBA?

@kristiannicosia377: I’m excited to see him bulk up and grow into his frame, and develop a consistent jumper. Once he does both, he’ll be unstoppable.

@sebwayfootlong: Seeing LeBron his rookie season and how bulked up he is now gives me hope for AD!

@iamKimmieHo: His all-around game impresses me and makes me more excited in the future. Once he puts on weight and adds a low-post game, the sky’s the limit.

@BDay_: That he has a somewhat decent jump shot, which was a weakness of his coming in this season.