Anthony Davis

We compare Anthony Davis to all-time great Kevin Garnett


Right now, it feels like there’s no one on Earth quite like Anthony Davis. He may not have the deep shooting range of other “stretch” big men, but in terms of his pure physical talent, he’s superior. He’s ridiculously long, ridiculously agile/fluid, and has a good amount of basketball skills.

In that way, he reminds me of Kevin Garnett. I looked up the numbers and the stats appear to bear those out. Keep in mind some caveats:

— Anthony Davis plays in an era of more “pace and space,” which allows him to rack up some stats against smaller players.

— On the other hand, KG played in an era of heavier minutes. In the period referenced, he played between 37.9 and 40 minutes every season — Davis has topped out at 36.1.

— Remember, KG came straight from high school while Davis played for Kentucky (and won a title there!). I’m going to exclude Garnett’s rookie year so it feels like an even development track.

Kevin Garnett year by year

Y2: 17.0 ppg, 49.9% FG, 8.0 reb, 3.1 ast, 1.4 stl, 2.1 blk

Y3: 18.5 ppg, 49.1% FG, 9.6 reb, 3.1 ast, 1.7 stl, 1.8 blk

Y4: 20.8 ppg, 46.0% FG, 10.4 reb, 4.2 ast, 1.7 stl, 1.8 blk

Y5: 22.9 ppg, 49.7% FG, 11.8 reb, 4.3 ast, 1.5 stl, 1.6 blk

Y6: 22.0 ppg, 47.7% FG, 11.4 reb, 5.0 ast, 1.4 stl, 1.8 blk

Anthony Davis year by year

Y1: 13.5 ppg, 51.6% FG, 8.2 reb, 1.0 ast, 1.2 stl, 1.8 blk

Y2: 20.8 ppg, 51.9% FG, 10.0 reb, 1.6 ast, 1.3 stl, 2.8 blk

Y3: 24.4 ppg, 53.5% FG, 10.2 reb, 2.2 ast, 1.5 stl, 2.9 blk

Y4: 24.3 ppg, 49.3% FG, 10.3 reb, 1.9 ast, 1.3 stl, 2.0 blk

Y5: 28.0 ppg, 50.5% FG, 11.8 reb, 2.1 ast, 1.3 stl, 2.2 blk

the contrast

It’s nearly impossible to compare statistics from different “eras,” even if these happen to only be a decade apart. The game has changed quite a bit in that time. That said, it’s obvious that both of these big men have an incredible range of skills and impact on the game. To go for 20-10 with basically 1.5 steals and 2.0 blocks a night is amazing.

As you can see with the numbers, Davis has developed into an even better shooter/scorer than KG ever was. However, Davis could learn from Garnett, who continually developed as a passer/playmaker — topping out at 6.0 assists per game later on in his career.

Aside from the similar physical makeups and skill sets, the two had similar struggles in terms of “winning.” Anthony Davis’ Pelicans haven’t cracked the playoffs in two years. Kevin Garnett didn’t have that exact same problem — his T-Wolves made the playoffs each year after his rookie season. However, they didn’t advance past the first round until his 8th year in the league. Hopefully, for Davis’ sake, it doesn’t take that long.

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