Last week the 2013-2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant was ranked as the eighth best player in the NBA by ESPN due to his recent foot injury that could sideline him up to 2 months. On Monday, ESPN continued their NBA player rankings, as they ranked New Orleans Pelicans power forward/center Anthony Davis as the third best player in the NBA.
Davis, who made his first all-star game in just his second year in the league in 2014, is expected to have a monster season by fans, executives and analysts around the league.
One media member who expects Davis to have an MVP-caliber type season is Grantland’s Bill Simmons, who expects Davis to be the NBA’s next major superstar behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Simmons isn’t the only person predicting a monster year from Anthony Davis, as the ESPN Forecast Panel gave Davis a near-perfect score of 9.06 out of 10.
Davis, who averaged 20.8 points, 10.o rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season was ranked 33rd on ESPN’s NBA player rankings before the 2013-2014 NBA season began.
The players in the top ten of ESPN’s NBA rankings that Davis is ranked ahead of include Dwight Howard (10th), James Harden (9th), Kevin Durant (8th), Kevin Love (7th), Stephen Curry (6th), Blake Griffin (5th) and Russell Westbrook (4th).
Anthony Davis is one of only two players to average 20+ points, 10+ rebounds and 2+ blocks per game at the age of 20 or younger, as the only other player to do so was Shaquille O’Neal back in 1992-1993 NBA season.
Another impressive stat is that only LeBron James (14.3) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson (10.5) had more win shares when they were 20 years old or younger. Davis finishes just behind Magic with 10.4 win shares last season.
The major concern with Davis this season is durability. In his first two seasons in the NBA, Davis has missed 15 or more games. Davis also spent the summer helping team USA win the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Davis averaged 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks during the FIBA tournament.
ESPN is going to announce the number one and two players in their NBA player rank on Tuesday. While it’s not official, the only two players to not be included in the rankings are Chris Paul and LeBron James. So it’s assumed that Paul will be ranked second, and James will be ranked first.
Do you agree with ESPN ranking Anthony Davis as the third best player in the NBA? Do you think Davis will be an MVP candidate this season?
[Photo via David Ramos/Getty Images, video via Grantland]