Anthony Davis soars for a fast-break slam at Golden State

Anthony Davis’ early-season PER greater than Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time record

by Jim Eichenhofer

A wide range of statistics have been used lately to attempt to describe Anthony Davis’ staggering start to Year 3 of his NBA career, but perhaps the most telling is a single number: 33.67, his player efficiency rating (PER). The highest full-season PER in league history is 31.82, set by legendary center Wilt Chamberlain in 1962-63. In other words, if Davis maintains his current 17-game level of play throughout the entire 2014-15 schedule, he will break the all-time record in the advanced statistic.

Keep in mind, Chamberlain averaged 44.8 points and 24.3 rebounds in ’62-63, while playing a mind-boggling 47.6 minutes per game. He was 26 years old and played every contest of an 80-game season, back before steals and blocks became official statistics. The 21-year-old Davis is averaging 25.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 2.3 steals and 2.3 assists, while shooting 56.8 percent from the field. The New Orleans Pelicans power forward’s combination of multi-dimensional offensive skills and all-around defensive impact may be unprecedented in the NBA.

“He can do a lot,” Pelicans wing Tyreke Evans said. “It’s not just him scoring the ball. He plays defense, gets steals, runs the floor. He’s like a guard, a big guard. He rebounds, gets points off putbacks, and next thing you know he’s got 27 points. He does a little bit of everything. He’s fun to watch.”

Through Thursday’s games, Davis ranked first in the NBA in blocks, for a second straight season. He was also second in scoring and steals, as well as sixth in rebounding. Few players in league history have ranked so highly in all four key statistical categories.

“He does it all. He blocks shots, he rebounds, gets assists, a little bit of everything,” Pelicans guard Austin Rivers said. “Not only does it show how valuable he is to us, it shows how good of a player he is. He does things at both ends. He’s a valuable commodity for our team. He’s the MVP I think of the league right now. Nobody could really argue with that.”

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