We already know that former Kentucky forward Anthony Davis had one of the single-greatest college basketball seasons of all time during his 2011-12 campaign in Lexington. His status as an NCAA champion, NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, consensus national player of the year, consensus first-team All-American, NABC Defensive Player of the Year, USBWA National Freshman of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft proves that.
We also know that Davis is one of the best players in the entire NBA. His status as a 6x NBA All-Star (2014–2019), NBA All-Star Game MVP (2017), 3x All-NBA First Team (2015, 2017, 2018), NBA All-Defensive First Team (2018), 2x NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2015, 2017), 3x NBA blocks leader (2014, 2015, 2018), and NBA All-Rookie First Team (2013) proves that, as well.
But could he actually be one of the most talented players to ever pick up a basketball?
Superstar agent Rich Paul certainly seems to think so.
“He’s just as talented as anyone who’s ever played this game,” Paul said of his client, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “6-11, makes 3s, blocks shots. I think he’s one of the better passing big men in our game. In my opinion, this is what makes him different from Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. Like, if you put Anthony Davis on that Bucks team last year, they’d be playing in the Finals. He knows how to make guys better. That’s not a knock to Giannis, but that’s just what [I think].”
The quote comes from a story detailing Davis’ trade request from the New Orleans Pelicans last year and the flurry of interest across the league that ultimately landed him in Los Angeles to play with LeBron James and the Lakers.
And now that he is in Los Angeles, Davis said his goal is to take his production to a whole new level, even considering the added pressure of being one of new faces of arguably the most prestigious franchise in NBA history.
“I think a lot of stuff that I did in New Orleans, people saw and heard about. But then again, people said, ‘Well, it was New Orleans.’ I think the big question is, ‘All right, let’s see what he can do on a big stage. Obviously the playoffs are the playoffs, but let’s see what he does on 35 [national] TV games now,” Davis said. “Nobody was really waking up [for a game] in New Orleans. Every game now is like, ‘All right, if we beat the Lakers [we accomplished something].’ [With the Pelicans] we could lose games and people were like, ‘OK, well, no one expected them to win this game,’ or whatever. Now every night you have to show up. If not, the next day here comes your name through the tabloids.”
Last season with the Pelicans, Davis averaged 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 blocks, and 1.6 steals per contest, proving his worth as a consensus top-five player in the league. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, immediately after Davis’ trade to the Lakers was executed, LeBron James “promptly held conversations with higher-ups in the organization and expressed his views on why it’s imperative that Davis becomes the focal point of the team’s offensive identity.”
James has confidence in the former Wildcat to take over the team. But will he actually be able to prove his status as one of the most talented basketball players of all time?