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Lakers, Anthony Davis

The Evolution of Lakers superstar Anthony Davis’ NBA Career

The backstory on Anthony Davis has always been his rise to fame, literally. In high school, Davis played for Perspective Charter School on the South Side of Chicago. In junior high, Davis was known as the little guy who likes to shoot three-pointers from the corner. At the end of his freshman year, Davis stood at 6’0″. By the end of his sophomore year, he grew to be 6’4″. By the start of his junior season, he was 6’8″. Davis was growing into a star.

The rise of Davis was expected since he was drafted no. 1 overall in 2012. Coming out of the University of Kentucky, Davis averaged 14.2 points and 10.7 rebounds but was viewed as a top defensive player after providing 4.7 blocks per game in just one season. This is exactly what the NBA needed at the time. Little did anyone know that this defensive powerhouse would grow to be one of the top offensive players in the game.

Growing pains

In his first season after being selected by the New Orleans Hornets, Davis played 60 games and averaged just 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds with 1.8 blocks while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor. Davis did exactly what he did in college.

The following year, Anthony Davis took the NBA by storm. He upped his scoring average to 20.8 points per game and his rebounding to 10.0 an outing. He would also go on to lead the NBA in blocks with 2.8 per game. Davis was on his way. That same year he would begin his run of six straight All-Star appearances.

For the 2014-15 season, Davis upped the ante even more. He went on to average career-highs in points (24.4), rebounds (10.2), blocks (2.9), minutes (36.1), and field goal percentage (53.5). What else was there for him to do? Team-wise, Davis still was on the outside looking in, in terms of postseason appearances. That was about to change as the Pelicans advanced to the NBA Playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Davis made his presence felt during the postseason with averages of 31.5 points and 11.0 rebounds. However, his efforts weren’t enough as the Pelicans got bounced in the first round.

The next season, Davis had to prove his breakout campaign the previous year was no fluke. He averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 49.3 percent from the floor. But the Pelicans would once again miss the NBA playoffs. It became clear that either Davis was not built to lead or the Pelicans just couldn’t find the right talent to surround him with.

Difficult stretch

For the 2016-17 season, the Pelicans thought they had the right mix. Davis played 75 games (his most ever) and averaged 28.0 points and 11.8 rebounds. Davis did it all. While still considered a low post threat, he started to knock down perimeter shots and displayed a great handle for a player his size. All that was missing was the postseason success. But still, it wasn’t meant to be. The rumors began to swirl that teams were inquiring about AD and for the first time, there was a chance that he could be moved for the right price.

Davis came out the gate hot and remained that way for the entire 2017-18 season. Davis mirrored his previous campaign with averages of 28.1 points and 11.1 rebounds. The Pelicans also did the unthinkable during the NBA trade deadline and brought DeMarcus Cousins. But everything went downhill right before the NBA Playoffs when Cousins was injured and Davis was left holding the bag yet again.

Instead of re-signing Cousins in the summer, the Pelicans let him go. The move gave birth to more whispers that Anthony Davis had enough of the losing and wanted out. As the 2018-19 season started, the Pelicans did their best to surround him with a solid core. But it was too late. Despite averaging 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks, it was clear that his days in NOLA were over.

During the trade deadline, there was a rumored deal in place to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers. While that deal fell through, the message was out that Davis was for sale to the highest bidder. AD also publicly requested a trade, earning him a $50,000 fine from the NBA.

Joining Hollywood

During the offseason, the Lakers and Pelicans engaged in talks again and this time, neither team was going to walk away empty-handed. The Lakers acquired Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first round draft picks.

And with that, the Davis era in Hollywood began.

He couldn’t have asked for a better first season with LeBron James and the Lakers. He quickly transformed the Purple & Gold into an instant contender, putting up 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks. He earned his fourth All-NBA First Team nod and finished runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year. But most importantly, he finally won his first title, proving that his decision to join the Lakers was the perfect move at this point of his career.

This season, however, has been a difficult one for AD, as he has been hampered by different injuries. He has only played 32 games, putting up 21.3 points and a career-low 7.9 rebounds. Lakers fans can only hope that he regains his form quickly in time for the NBA Playoffs. That is if they can qualify and keep their title defense alive.

But to question what Anthony Davis has done in the NBA is not the wisest of choices. He’s a stud. The special part is, many still believe that the 28-year-old big man has not even hit his ceiling yet.