It’s just one, imperfect measure, but it gives you a good snapshot of where Anthony Davis is in his development:
Last season Davis had a PER of 30.8, not just the best in the NBA for the season but the 11th best all-time for a season. The only three players to record higher PERs for a season are Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain. And Davis is just 22 and still improving by leaps and bounds.
But if you ask Davis — as Justin Termine of SiriusXM NBA Radio did at the NBA 2K16 release party Tuesday night — he says he hasn’t won enough to get there.
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“I still have a lot of work to do. I haven’t even got out of the first round yet, haven’t won a game in the playoffs yet. So there are a lot of steps for me. Them two guys are definitely unbelievable players but I know one day I’m going to be there, I’m going to be the best player in the league if I continue to work hard and keep grinding, keep being dedicated, keep being motivated.”
Davis is saying the right things, and he understands his ultimate legacy will have to include playoff wins and rings (not to mention MVPs) if he wants to be mentioned with the all-time greats. But we’re a long way from there — and it’s fair to ask how this Pelicans roster, which is not that young, is poised to get him there over the next five-plus years.
For now, it’s just about taking the next step in his development — he’s going to broaden his game, be in the MVP conversation this season, and lift the Pelicans farther than that franchise has been in a long time (although how far in a brutal Western Conference is up for debate). It’s going to be fun to watch.