COMMENTARY | For much of the 2013-14 NBA season, the MVP debate has centered around LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Durant raised his game to keep the Thunder hot while Russell Westbrook was out with an injury. And as the most talented player in the NBA, James will always be in the MVP discussion. However, neither of these players has performed at the level of New Orleans Pelicans F Anthony Davis in the second half of the NBA season.
I’m not suggesting that Davis should be in the 2014 NBA MVP discussion. Barring an incredible season of historic proportions, I believe the MVP of any sport should play for a winning team that makes the playoffs. However, the most valuable player is not necessarily the best player. And since the NBA All-Star break, Anthony Davis is clearly performing at a higher level than anyone else in the league.
The numbers posted by Anthony Davis since the All-Star break are incredible. Since February 19, Davis is averaging 24.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He also leads the NBA with 2.9 blocks per game and he is fourth in player efficiency rating. When considering Anthony Davis’ greatness in the second half of the 2013-14 NBA season, a look at the MVP candidates is in order.
Kevin Durant is a scoring machine and not even Anthony Davis can keep pace with him here. Since the NBA All-Star break, Durant is averaging a ridiculous 34.9 points per game. His assist numbers are also better than Anthony Davis’ assists. However, Davis is a much better rebounder and shot blocker. I still consider Anthony Davis’ overall second half performance better than Durant’s because the Pelicans have been decimated by injuries.
Not surprisingly, LeBron James is also outscoring Anthony Davis since the NBA All-Star break. However, James has been very inconsistent, scoring as many as 61 points and as little as 15 in that time. His 28.5 points per game average is only slightly better than Davis’ second half average. Anthony Davis also has better rebounding and blocks per game averages than James. Davis even has the Pelicans playing better than the Heat in late March.
As I alluded to earlier, Anthony Davis is almost single-handedly carrying the Pelicans since the NBA All-Star break. No one is going to give the Pelicans extra credit for effort as they close out what will likely be a losing 2013-14 NBA season. But with the losses of Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis’ incredible performance is all the more impressive because opposing NBA defenses must be keying on him.
There is no NBA award for being the best player for half a season. But Anthony Davis’ remarkable season since the All-Star break may be a prelude to an award-winning 2014-15 NBA season.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Pelicans. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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