This year, we were supposed to be announcing the Giannis era. Or, Kawhi Leonard era would be solidified as he won a second straight NBA title, and on a new team. None of that is to be. It could be now that we are entering the reign of Anthony Davis, aka Uni-Brow.
Davis hit a shot in Game 2 of the Lakers-Nuggets series that began to build a buzz about Davis. Most of us were not surprised. Most of us are not surprised either that he is dominating the Miami Heat’s smaller front court players and has his Lakers up 2–0. He is averaging 33 and 11, in the Lakers two victories. He is shooting 63 percent from the field. He has scored just about every way imaginable. Is the league his league now? Looks like it.
Anthony Davis is a late comer to this moment. In 9th grade as a basketball player on the South Side of Chicago, he was 6'0". By 11th grade, he was 6'8" and still had his point guard skills when he was much shorter. In his senior year at Perspectives Charter School, he averaged 32 points and 22 rebounds a game. He was, without a doubt, the #1 high school player that year, and NBA bound but for the one and done rule. He was now 6'10".
By the time he arrived at the University of Kentucky, it was agreed, he would be the likely #1 pick in the NBA Draft as soon as he finished his required one year. He averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 blocks at Kentucky and led them to the NCAA National Championship in 2012.
Davis was drafted first in 2012 by the New Orleans Pelicans and he quickly rose up as a top tier player in the league. He has averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds for his career, and 2 blocks per game. Two seasons in New Orleans he averaged 28 and 11; the Pelicans also made the playoffs twice.
Yet, there was little chance he would play under the bright lights of the playoffs or the NBA Finals as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, and then the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs were still in their primes. He was good but he didn’t have a full team. He had a team in progress. Davis impatiently opted out and headed for Los Angeles last year in search of the bright stage and now he has stepped into the void of stardom of the NBA.
He is 27 years old. For the first time in his career, his physicality is solid. His Laker teammate, LeBron James didn’t win MVP this year and he likely won’t ever win it again. Giannis Antetokounmpo has won that two years in a row now with the Bucks but he is home, eliminated. Finals MVP? Last year it was Kawhi Leonard when he took Toronto to the crown. He too is home. The year before? Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors looked like the heir apparent but he snapped his achilles, jetted for Brooklyn and so, we wait on him. He is likely the immediate competition to Davis’ ascent to the top.
Things are (and were)scattered until Davis hit that shot against the Nuggets. It changed the series and it changed Davis. He even said the play was for LeBron James but he and Rondo, who played together in New Orleans, made eye contact. It was the kind of play that all the greats have made and want to make. Davis is, at last, ready to be the league.