You are going to die. I am going to die. Everyone dies. Generally we keep this maxim stored somewhere in the reptilian part of our brains, the area we only access when we’re fearing for our lives or someone writes something we disagree with on Twitter. But every now and then, when you look up at the stars, or go to a funeral, or watch your parents or grandparents age before your eyes, you’re faced with the existential dread that only really surfaced in advanced society around 100 years ago, when religion fell by the wayside and Nietzsche brought us a world where God was dead. Without the safety net of religion keeping us comfy about what comes next, we were cast into a world with no importance, and the absurdity of existence was revealed.
This is only helpful when you’re stressing some development on the corporeal plane. Once you grasp that nothing really matters, you can relax and focus on the task at hand. But this same knowledge of the never-ending nothingness of existence — and more importantly, the self-knowledge that long after you and everyone you know have morphed into energy and worm food, the world will continue unaltered by your smudge of a life — can also be applied to the future of Anthony Davis.
Because what lies ahead for Brow is just as much of a mystery as what transpires when we slough off this mortal plane, and that’s precisely what makes him such a delight for basketball fans.
There’s no ceiling for Davis; his talent and size could take him wherever Jodie Foster traveled when her pod dropped in Contact. His Hall of Fame induction is a tabula rasa fans get to paint in broad strokes whenever his name floats along their firing synapses. Four MVPs? Sure, why the hell not. LeBron has four and he wasn’t coached by Alvin Gentry before he turned 23. Defensive Player of the Year, MVP and Finals MVP in the same year? OK, not even MJ did that, but Brow’s length, defensive acumen and blossoming offensive game make it a surer bet than the GOAT ever was (to be fair, MJ won DPOY, MVP and All-Star MVP in 1988, but he didn’t win Finals MVP). All-Star MVP? Pshaw, no problem. Just sucks Ant didn’t get to win it when the main event was at the Smoothie King Center.
What happens if Brow becomes a real 3-point threat? Alvin Gentry already has him hoisting up triplets this offseason, so it’s not even close to the most outrageous thing we might imagine about Davis. But with Brow as a legit threat beyond the arc, Gentry could pair him with Ryan Anderson and all of a sudden they’re the tallest small-ball unit in basketball.
That’s what makes Anthony Davis so incredibly fun to talk about. Nothing is off-limits. Here’s a quick graph we made to provide a visual representation of his potential heading into the 2015-16 NBA season.
That arrow pointing to the heavens is the same unknowable space you recognize when you read a dense philosophy text as an undergrad. It’s around then when most realize there’s a lot more of the world to explore besides their petty day-to-day troubles; individuals are just a piece of lint in the pocket of the whole freakin’ solar system, which itself is a granule of sand in the desert of the universe. That revelation can be scary, but also freeing. For Anthony Davis opponents, it’s the former. For Anthony Davis fans, and really all basketball fans whose teams aren’t playing Davis, it’s the latter.
Use Anthony Davis as your untouched tapestry and paint whatever crazy dominance you can dream up for him over these next few years. Nothing is out of bounds. The unknowable void of existence is never so pleasurable as when we use it for Davis. In our imaginations, he can fly as close to the sun as he wants. For right now, basketball fans still get to decide if his wings are made of wax.