Tuesday, January 15, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
11-26 (5th Southwest, 15th West)
16-22 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
THE ENEMY: G. VASQUEZ | E. GORDON | A. AMINU | A. DAVIS | R. LOPEZ
MATCHUP TO WATCH
F-C Anthony Davis vs. F Thaddeus Young
Updated: 10:24 PM, January 14, 2013
In a league of physical specimens, there are few players who exemplify the athletic aptitude of NBA players more than the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Anthony Davis. At just 19 years of age, he stands 6'10", weighs a shade over 220 pounds, possesses a freakish 7'5.5" wingspan, and is quicker than a good number of NBA guards.
But David wasn't always the most gifted athlete on the floor. As a high school freshman, he stood just six feet tall, playing guard and flying under the radar in his hometown of Chicago. That all changed when he grew an astonishing eight inches in just two years – hitting 6'8 by the beginning of his junior season and making the move to frontcourt.
Many believe that it is the many years he spent as a guard that made the Kentucky alum such a unique prospect, as he is able to combine the size and physicality of a big with the quickness and footwork of a guard.
In his rookie season, Davis is averaging 13.2 points (49.4 FG%), 7.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals per game. Since the return of star guard Eric Gordon (who missed the first 29 games of the season with knee soreness) on December 29, the Hornet big man has seen his role within the offense diminish. After scoring in double figures in 11 straight games and attempting 15.2 shots per game over the five games prior to Gordon's return, he's hit double figures just twice over his last eight and is attempting just 8.9 shots per game. During that stretch, he's averaged 9.8 points (55.0 FG%), 6.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 26.8 minutes a night.
When the Sixers and Hornets last met, on November 10, Davis did not play due to a concussion.
Thaddeus Young has been a model of consistency for the Sixers this season. The high-energy forward has scored in double figures 35 times, a feat that only five players (Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden) are besting this season. On the year, he's averaging 14.8 points (52.7 FG%), 7.2 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game.
Young is one of the few players in the NBA who can match up with Anthony Davis athletically. Standing 6'8" and weighing 235 pounds, he is one of the quickest and most athletic big men in the league; he also excels in defending pick-and-roll, an aspect of Davis' game that can be deadly.
In Saturday's win over the Houston Rockets, Young scored 18 points (8-14 FG), pulled down 12 boards, and added three assists and a pair of steals.
While Anthony Davis is a dynamic player, he is by no means a well-rounded offensive weapon yet. 68.9% of his shot attempts come from inside the paint, with 78.5% of those coming inside three feet; he converts his paint attempts at a 61.0% clip. From outside the paint, though, he's hit just 19 shots all year long (25.0 FG%).
Davis is at his best when he is being fed the ball on hard cuts and screen-and-rolls to the basket, where he can use his elite quickness, great hands, and impressive bounce to finish at the rim. Remaining cognizant of the big man's location on the floor when the ball is in the hands of playmaking guards Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon will be important.