Anthony Davis was an All-Star in his second NBA season, at age 21. He is averaging 21.4 points a game on 52.7 percent shooting, plus he grabs 10.4 rebounds a game and blocks 2.9 shots a game. He has a PER of 27.1, fourth best in the NBA (behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love). Again, he’s just 21.
He also had some success in college — his Kentucky team won the 2012 NCAA tournament.
In an interesting Q&A, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz talks with Davis about the adjustment from the NCAA to the NBA, something that seemed appropriate to share the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
What’s the hardest thing to pick up about the pro game when you come into the league?
The pace, and how physical it is. When you come in, the guys you’re playing against have been in the league for like 16 years! I thought it was going to be a lot easier than what it is. You have to try to get stronger right away. You have to hold your own when you’re in the post. You have to get better right away.
A lot of guys when you ask this question say, “the defensive schemes.”
I don’t really think so. Defense doesn’t change. Offensively, it changes a lot. The floor opens up a lot. One-on-one, you have guys who can do so much more, who can make tough shots. As far as schemes, I don’t think that’s a big thing, at least not for me.
I think the scheme thing really depends on where you came out of college. If you are Tyler Ennis of Syracuse about to leave the comforts of that zone for the more man, more aggressive match ups of the NBA, you bet it’s different. Some college teams run more pro-like schemes.
Davis has adjusted pretty well on both ends of the court, showing a much improved jump shot this season to go with his quality defense.
Next season he will take another step forward and if the guys around him such as Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday can just stay healthy New Orleans could be a playoff team. And Davis will become the model for even more young players.