Anthony Davis is one of the best big men in the NBA, as he has established himself amongst the elite players in the league. At 6’10”, AD can cover both the 4 and 5 positions effectively due to his offensive versatility and can stand his own covering players on the perimeter. Backing guys down, fadeaway shots, mid-range game, and even three-point range are all a part of his game, with defense may be his biggest strength. You could say Davis is a player without weaknesses, but even he had to learn how to adjust to the NBA and get schooled a couple of times along the way.
Davis had the unique opportunity to watch and learn first-hand from some of the brightest stars in the league before he even stepped on an NBA floor, thanks to him making the USA 2012 Olympic roster after Blake Griffin went down with an injury. Davis shared how this experience helped his transition to the NBA:
“My transition was pretty smooth. I went straight from college to the Olympic team with Bron, Melo, Kobe, Tyson Chandler, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Chris Paul. I was able to be around these guys 24/7 for about two months, and learn a lot from them.”Anthony Davis, Reddit AMA
He also shared his welcome to the NBA moment. The first player to school AD was someone no one liked matching up against.
“My “welcome to the league” moment was when we played Indiana at home during my rookie year. They had PG, Lance Stephenson, David West, Roy Hibbert, all those guys. David West just lit me up. I couldn’t stop him. I was so frustrated. He went to the same move, over and over. Literally 5 times in a row. Just caught the ball, jab, jumper from the elbow. I couldn’t stop it. That’s when I knew the league was for real.”Anthony Davis, Reddit AMA
David West isn’t probably the biggest or first name you would think of, but I can see how an experienced, strong, and skillful big man like West could have given young Davis problems. At that time, the Pacers were in their prime, with Paul George leading them into deep playoff fights versus the Heat, and David West was a crucial part of that team.
Nowadays, there isn’t a player in the league that can bully AD in the post. However, after winning his first championship last year, Davis has had a down year primarily due to injuries. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and find his form in order to help the Lakers go after another title run.