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Explaining Anthony Davis’ Slow Start

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no doubt that after Anthony Davis’ impressive playoff performance there would be high expectations for him coming into this season. Unfortunately, the legendary Wildcat has not necessarily met those insanely lofty expectations.

In fact, not only has Davis played below MVP standards, but he’s performed worse this season than many seasons in the past. To put it in perspective, Davis is averaging only one more point per game this season than his second season in the league. On top of that, he’s averaging fewer rebounds, fewer blocks, and more turnovers this season than his sophomore effort all the way back in the 2013-14 season.

Now obviously Anthony Davis is a far better player currently than he was as a 21 year old. But, his slow start this season certainly hasn’t helped prove this point.

I’m not alone in noticing this slow start. A popular NBA twitter account with nearly 470,000 followers recently posted a simple question to its timeline: “Which NBA ‘star’ has underperformed the most this season?”

As you may have expected, one of the most popular answers was none other than Lakers star, Anthony Davis. Here are some of other people’s takes on Davis’ underwhelming performance this season.

And finally…

“That ADisney dude.” While undeniably funny, the tweet does bring up a good point. Was Anthony Davis’ performance in the bubble a Disney magical moment? Certainly, there were players who seemed to completely transform into different people in the bubble, such as T.J. Warren or Jamal Murray. But is Davis genuinely one of them?

To put my thoughts plainly: no, Davis’ situation is not remotely similar to the other two names mentioned. In reality, Davis has a history of seemingly hitting the “on-switch” come playoff time.

In the 2015 playoffs, Davis out-performed his regular season averages by nearly eight points and three rebounds per game. In the 2018 playoffs, history repeated itself as Davis again out-played his regular season averages.

And when examining Davis’ college statistics and realizing his regular season averages were quite similar to his March Madness statistics, there’s really only one solution that explains Davis’ slow start this season: a lack of effort. However, for this year in particular, it’s hard to blame Davis.

The NBA offseason was a short one. Due to COVID-19, the final game of last season was played on October 11th of 2020. The first Laker game of the current season was December 11th. A two month “break” that left players completely unrested.

The proof is in the pudding. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have both had an amazing start to the season and are MVP contenders. What do they have in common? Neither of them played last season. In other words, they had nearly a year to rest!

Davis, on the other hand, is exhausted. He spent months in a hotel room and a relatively short time later was being expected to relive the experience all over again. Understandably, it may take time for Davis’ to recharge and return to his normal self. There’s also a slew of new complementary pieces around him.

But rest assured, come playoff time, Anthony Davis will show up and show out. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years about our favorite unibrow-baller, Davis can and will be the best player on the court when he needs to be.

Article written by Grant Grubbs

3 Comments for Explaining Anthony Davis’ Slow Start

  1. GM1978
    8:26 pm January 31, 2021 Permalink

    And they have the 2nd best record in the league…..AD is just fine

  2. WILDCATS1968
    10:31 am February 1, 2021 Permalink

    Exactly. A couple of new supporting cast guys are taking some of the burden off AD (Harrell and Schroder). I mean if 22.2 PPG / 9.1 RPG / 3.4 APG / 1.3 Steals per game / 1.8 Blocks per game is an off year, that says something. He is only taking 16.7 shots per game, making 55% 2FG / 34% 3FG / 71 % on free throws. Last season he averaged 26 PPG / 9.3 RPG / 3.2 APG / 1.5 SPG / 2.3 BPG, not a huge difference like the article is trying to suggest. Difference is simply Harrell and Schroder are a better supporting cast.

    Lebron’s #s are not any better. 25.2 PPG (19 shots per game) / 7.8 RPG / 7.5 APG / .9 Steals per game / .4 Blocks per game with shooting %s of 54% 2FG / 41% 3FG / 70% free throw %. 2 more shots per game by Lebron and only averaging 3 points per game more. Lebron has a pretty big edge in APG (4), but AD has a better RPG average (1.3), blocks (1.4) and steals (.4) So factor in the 2 more shots and weigh in all the stats, AD is producing as well as Lebron. Schroder (13.5 PPG), Harrell (13 PPG) and KCP (9.3 PPG), Kuzma (10.1 PPG) have helped take the scoring burden off of not just Lebron, but AD as well. Really just a hit piece, AD is fine, but he is keeping some reserve in the tank for toward the end of the year. Reg. Season doesn’t mean nothing, get a top 2 seed, turn it on, put it in overdrive come playoffs, hang another banner. The lakers are only ONE game from the best record in the NBA (Clippers) and are only 4-4 at home, and 11-2 on the road. 8 home games and 13 road games, that is telling me that a lot of travel early to go along with short rest in between seasons, he is just pacing himself.

  3. WILDCATS1968
    10:39 am February 1, 2021 Permalink

    The players Harrell and Schroder replaced from last years team Avery Bradley (8.3 PPG) and Danny Green (8 PPG) are averaging 5.5 PPG and 4.4 PPG more than the departed players. That is a 10 PPG higher average from supporting players so not a big deal that AD is averaging only 4 PPG less than last year.