When he is able to stay on the court, Anthony Davis may be the most impactful player in the NBA. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has garnered the nickname “All Day”, but with Davis’ recent performance, he may have to take ownership of that title (especially since it works so well with his initials).
In 43 minutes of action in a 111-103 win over the Detroit Pistons, Davis shot an efficient 23-34 to score a career-high (and franchise-record) 59 points. Oh, and he chipped in 20 rebounds too.
Davis joined rare company on Sunday, as Shaquille O’Neal and Wilt Chamberlain are the only other players in NBA history to have scored at least 55 in a game where they were also able to rip down 20 boards. What’s even more impressive is that Davis is not the kind of big man that just imposes his will on smaller players, as Shaq and Wilt were. Davis accomplished this feet with a vast array of offensive moves, including going two for two on three point attempts.
Afterwards, Davis could not give a specific reason for his now signature game, simply saying, “I just go out there and play. The guys on the bench were telling me, ‘go out there and get 60′ … I just came out with a lot of energy.”
Fans love a player who plays with energy and gives everything he has on a nightly basis (they also love players who drop 59). The only problem is, Davis has struggled to see the court on a nightly basis. Currently in the midst of his fourth season, Davis has not played more than 68 games in his previous three, and has missed seven games so far this season.
The reigning NBA MVP also struggled with injuries early in his career, but it seems Stephen Curry has moved passed his ankle issues, and is seen by many as the best player in the league. If he can stay on the court, Davis could challenge Curry for that title. And if the Pelicans commit to building around their star, the Western Conference will be electrifying for years to come.
Curry’s Warriors swept Davis’ Pelicans in the first round of last years’ playoffs, and at 5.5 games out, Davis expressed his desire to make it back, “We’re going to try to be the best team in the NBA these last 27 games.” With a strong second-half showing, a healthy Anthony Davis, and a little help from some other teams, the future may be closer than we think.