The Anthony Davis who concluded the 2013-14 season often overwhelmed opponents, including a 10-game stretch in March featuring averages of 29.8 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks. Now imagine that same player, but with noticeably more muscle – and perhaps an extra inch or two of height.
During a Friday sitdown interview with New Orleans Pelicans radio broadcaster Sean Kelley, the All-Star power forward noted that through strength training, he has upped his weight to 238 pounds. The 21-year-old also acknowledged that he still may be growing (Davis’ lengthy video interview will be available on Pelicans.com beginning Monday).
“I’m up to 238 right now. It’s all muscle, and that’s what I need,” said Davis, who was 230 at the start of the 2013-14 season. “I want to get stronger, so that when I post up, it’s a lot easier for me. I think it’s going to translate to the season, just my mentality, knowing that I’m a lot stronger and a lot better. It’s going to make me more aggressive.”
The University of Kentucky product said he hasn’t measured himself lately, but it’s possible he’s no longer 6-foot-10, as he’s been listed in the pros. He half-jokingly added that he wants to stay in the 6-something range.
“I hope not,” Davis said on whether he’s still growing. “I don’t want to be 7 feet. It just (sounds) weird, to be a 7-footer. I’d like to be 6-10, but if I grow, you can’t really do anything about it. You can’t help it.”
The Chicago native has enjoyed a busy month of June, including visiting his hometown last week and participating in an all-ages basketball camp for youngsters in China from June 9-13.
“It was amazing,” Davis said of the Nike event. “It was a great experience. We went sightseeing, to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City. All of it was amazing… it was the farthest I’ve ever been from home.”
Davis will spent a large chunk of next month in Las Vegas for the second straight year, partly to serve as a mentor and informal assistant coach for players on the Pelicans’ summer league team July 11-21. He plans to stay in Las Vegas for USA Basketball’s training camp, which is scheduled for July 28-Aug. 1. His participation in USA Basketball last year ended up being a sign of things to come for Davis, who joined Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving as the camp’s standout performers.
Coming off a season in which he improved his statistics in virtually every category, Davis believes he can make another big jump as a player in 2014-15. He’s focusing on several areas of his game, including long-distance shooting.
“I’m definitely working on the corner three-pointer,” said Davis, who has made two treys in his NBA career. “(Also) more post moves, a consistent mid-range jump shot, ball-handling. Those are the things I’m working on right now to get better. But at the same time, touching up on the things I’m pretty good at.”
Another of Davis’ primary objectives will be to stay healthy throughout the course of the season. He’s played in 64 and 67 games in his first two seasons, respectively.
“(My improvement) from Year 1 to Year 2 was all confidence,” Davis explained. “I had to be more confident in myself and in my game. I had to trust that all the work I had been putting in was going to pay off. Year 2 to Year 3, I just want to get better. All my numbers I had last year, I want to see increase. I want to try to stay healthy and play at least 75 games. When I’m healthy and the whole team’s healthy, we’ll be a playoff team. We definitely had the pieces we need to be that team. Unfortunately last year, we were all hurt. I think that’s going to change. It starts with the offseason right now, getting stronger, better and working on your game.”