Going into this season, Serge Ibaka was a good bet to win Defensive Player of the Year. While Anthony Davis spent time abusing Steven Adams on the block, specifically any time a Pellies perimeter player got in the lane. Ant also showed he can handle a defensive presence like Ibaka with ease during New Orleans’ 101-99 win when Davis finished with a game-high 38 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
In Kevin Durant’s absence as he continues to recover from the sprained ankle against the WArriors, Russell Westbrook took 27 shots to score 28 points (10-for-27), but the game wasn’t so much about Westbrook’s hero ball, so much as it was a referendum on just how good Brow has become in this, just his third NBA season.
Davis was 16-for-22 for his 38 points, including a number of tip-ins, lobs for dunks and layups, and points in transition. He’s so freakin’ long, at 6-10 he’s got a 7-4 wingspan, there’s no way to really stop him when he gets the ball along the baseline near the basket. He simply drops this shot over Ibaka after Tyreke Evans forced Steven Adams to slide over from Omer Asik on a high pick-and-roll:
I mean, the touch on that little floater is remarkable. Then there’s Ant’s blossoming mid-range game. Ibaka is the same size as Ant, and has coiled arms with snakes of muscles rippling around his toros and shoulders and neck. Davis is still maturing into his long body, but he’s gotten so good with his jumper inside of 20 feet, he does to Ibaka here what Ibaka has done to opponents since developing his own jumper:
We’re definitely rehashing previous performances from Davis this season, but to play like this against a Thunder team with a defender like Ibaka, is remarkable.
The Pellies are currently leading OKC for the eighth and final playoff spot, which means Davis should, and will, get MVP consideration if he continues to play at this level throughout the season and the Pellies remain in contention.
In fact, it was the Thunder’s own MVP, Kevin Durant, who predicted as much.
Then again we were pretty prescient when we considered Davis’ 25-to-1 preseason MVP odds the best in the Association before the 2014-15 campaign began.
Is Davis the front-runner for MVP so far this season?
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