There was a brief moment in last night’s Pelicans-Trailblazers game where Anthony Davis, heir to the NBA’s “best player” throne, was averaging a block every 1.5 seconds. In a ridiculous sequence, Davis smothered a fadeaway jumper from LaMarcus Aldridge (one of the game’s best forwards), recovered and swatted another shot from Wes Matthews while losing his footing. Watch:
God. That’s just outstanding defense. Find me a play from this season with more hustle and technical skill and I’ll eat one of Davis’ sweaty game socks, provided he lends me one. The Brow has been incredible through the first nine games of the season, averaging an even 4 blocks (to go along with 25.2 points and 11.7 boards). Inspired by the GIF above, reddit user 10K_Words put together a chart comparing Davis’ shotblocking to that of other greats, including Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo and Mark Eaton:
As you can see, the chart is wildly skewed towards Davis for the simple reason that he’s just 21 years old. He’s already got a huge head start on the all-time block leader, Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830). From the chart description:
Due to a variety of reasons, only 3 of the top 7 shot blockers of all time recorded their first block before age 24 (based on Basketball Reference’s Age). Duncan (21), Hakeem (22), and Ewing (23) all did four years of college. Robinson (24) had military service, Dikembe (25) started college late, Eaton (26) was an auto mechanic for 3 years, and Kareem (26) didn’t have blocks counted as a stat for the first years of his career. Anthony Davis started his career at age 19 and if he continues to average 4 blocks per game this year and plays 65 games, then he will have 561 blocks by age 22 (when Hakeem would still have 0 career blocks).
It’s unlikely that Davis continues to average four blocks a game (though not impossible), but he’ll still have hundreds of blocks on Olajuwon, putting him well on pace to shatter the all-time record. Plus, this version of Davis, at 21, isn’t even his final form. There’s reason to believe he will get even stronger, faster, more agile, smarter and have a better understanding of the game and his opponents over the next few years. Should we be expecting seven or eight blocks per contest by the time he’s 25?
The fact that we’re already talking about this dude in the same breath as Hall of Famers tells you all you need to know about his game.
Photo via Getty