Despite the pre-draft exaggerations, Anthony Davis isn’t the kind of player that turns a franchise completely around. Still, his way to NBA greatness looks clearer with every game that goes by, and as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Lakers, he makes Pau Gasol like an old has-been as well.
Davis finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks, becoming the youngest player in NBA history with a 30-10-6 stat line. On the other end, Pau Gasol had another terrible game, scoring 9 points on 3-of-12 from the field.
Davis is going to be one of the big stars the NBA has to offer in the near future. He’s averaging 23 points, 11.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. It might have taken him some time before he’s gotten to where some expected him to be right off the bat, not to mention a much better supporting cast to help him out, but it’s probably not good enough right now to take the Pelicans too far, which means no playoffs.
Pau Gasol? Players are changing around him quite rapidly in the lineup. Now he’s paired with Chris Kaman, which hasn’t really benefited Gasol, struggling in recent years pairing up with big men next to him for prolonged minutes. He’s averaging 12.7 points per game while shooting an awful 35.2% from the field, and it might just be that he can do anything more, and it’s no longer about the way he’s being used or the actual position he’s filling for the Lakers.
I’ve got to be sharper. I’ve just got to play a little smarter. I might not have all the speed and explosiveness that I used to have years ago, but I still have to use my experience and my fundamentals to be able to be effective every single night regardless of who we’re playing.
There’s also a difference in the players around him. Until Kobe Bryant comes back, things are going to continue to look hard and inconsistent. Every time it’s a different player, but it seems no one is good enough to both have really big days the Lakers need from their perimeter players, and no one is good enough to be consistent.
The Lakers hot 38.8% from the field, as it looks worse and worse in terms of their offensive adaptability between the system D’Antoni is trying to run and the players he has. Speed might be the number one prerequisite, and the Lakers simply don’t have that in abundance, which is also showing on their horrible defense.
Davis has a bit more trustworthy partners to rely on – Jrue Holiday with 13 points and 13 assists; Eric Gordon, scoring 16 points on a promising start to the season for him after all the trade talk. Things are a bit thinner on the bench, but it’s enough for the Pelicans to rebound from their slow start this season, and beat teams they’re supposed to handle, like the Lakers.
He’s a special player because he’s athletic. He’s able to block a shot on one end and sprint to the other end and get a layup … so you really have to keep up with him because he creates a threat to you that’s a little different than other players. He’s got a good shooting touch. He’s got a complete package for his second year in the league. It’s pretty impressive.