The boring way in which Skynet is excelling

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Published: February 22, 2013
Anthony Davis

Numbers draw attention. Davis doesn’t have them. Or does he?

Iverson scored 30 a game. Shaq went for 28 and 13. LeBron is putting up 27-8-7. Kevin Garnett put up 20-10-5 for 7 straight seasons. These things matter when it comes to the greater conversation about a player’s greatness. A guy must be special. He must stand out – and that would normally be a problem with the Tim Duncan Narrative. He’s now acknowledged as one of the greatest Power Forwards of all time, but if he hadn’t managed to win four rings and hang his hat on that, what numbers would his partisans point to? His best year he averaged 25 points per game. Dozens of players have done that. His best rebounding season he averaged 12.9. Dozens of players have done that. He averaged 2.9 blocks per game one season. That doesn’t even have the cachet of being “3”, much less four, the gold standard. Oh, and he shot about 50% for his career. Isn’t that the definition of unspectacular? Make one, miss one. Bleh.

Some would argue he was consistent and that every year he gave the same good, consistent numbers – but consistent is such an unsexy word – and isn’t even exclusive to praise. Xavier Henry has been consistent this year. Consistently garbage.

Here’s the key about Tim Duncan’s numbers, though: He was better than average at everything. For a power forward or center, his FG% was above average. His DRB, ORB, FTA, FTM, BLKs, Stls, TOs, PF, PTS, etc, etc – they were all above the league average. Night in and night out, he was going to be better than your guy in most categories. Maybe not in every category, but in most of them. Is that spectacular and water-cooler worthy? No. But he had no holes in his game either – and that’s tough to beat.

As of right now, it appears that SkyNet and his Rookie of the Year campaign is facing a similar problem – except it’s exacerbated by his short minutes. Anthony shoots 50%. He scores 12.5 points and grabs 7.5 rebounds. 1.2 steals. 1.9 blocks. 1 assist. 3 FTAs. Nothing stands out. Nothing is spectacular. Hell, even I admit nothing challenges Damian Lillard’s somewhat pedestrian 18 and 6 per game.

Of course, all that is an illusion. Lillard is most likely going to win the Rookie of the Year this season – but per 48 minutes he’s actually below average for a point guard in rebounds, assists, turnovers, steals, FG%, and 3FG%, and at the league average for points per shot for a point guard due to nice free throw numbers. Now, he’s a rookie and playing 38 minutes a game. What he’s doing is pretty good – and 18 points per game is a pretty spectacular raw number for a rookie – but has he been special? I’d say no.

Enter the Unibrow. Per 48 minutes, Anthony Davis is better than the league average for power forwards at points, defensive rebounding, offensive rebounding, turnovers, blocks, steals, personal fouls, 2-point field goal percentage, free throw attempts, true shooting percentage, and points per shot. In fact, Anthony Davis is below the league average for power forwards in only four categories: FT% (70.2% vs 73.6%), assists (1.6 vs 2.8), and 3Pt%(0% vs 34.8%) and 3Pt attempts.(0.2 vs 2.0)

He’s been special – just not spectacular – and other than his block numbers, I’m not sure he’ll ever be. But he’s only 19, and if he improves at all and gets starters minutes, there’s little doubt he’ll anchor a lot of excellent teams in a lot of different ways – and like fans in San Antonio, I’m not going to care about spectacular.

(By the way, If he ends up with no holes in his game, should we call him the “Unholy one”? Is that too “witty”?)

For fun, here’s the tables for Anthony Davis comparing his numbers to those of the league average Power Forward – and I tossed Center in there too.  Red numbers are where Anthony doesn’t surpass league averages for power forwards – and the numbers are produced per 48 minutes.

PTS DREB OREB REB AST TO BLK STL PF
Skynet

21.6

8.9

3.9

12.9

1.6

2.5

3.2

2

4.1

Average PF

19.9

7.9

3.4

11.3

2.8

2.6

1.2

1.3

4.7

Average C

17.8

8.6

4.1

12.7

2.3

2.7

2.1

1.1

5.4

 

FG% 2FG% TS% FGA PPS FTA FT%
Unibrow

51.4

52.0

54.8

17.3

1.25

5.4

70.2

Average PF

47.0

48.7

53.4

16.3

1.22

5.2

73.6

Average C

49.7

50.4

54.2

14.1

1.26

5.3

68.1