After a summer of speculation, Anthony Davis has made The Leap. He’s established himself as one of the best power forwards at the league at the young age of 20 and is poised to dominate the league for the next decade. When looking at his accomplishments this year, it’s hard to see why he couldn’t make his first All-Star team. Only a select few players get to be All-Stars this young (Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two big ones) but Davis has done enough to justify the honor this year.
Some may balk at this because of Davis’s hand injury, which caused him to miss time in December. Here’s the thing: he only missed seven games. He’s played in 19 of 26 Pelicans games this year. It would be one thing if his absence took up a giant portion of the Pelicans season, but it was a little over two weeks (it’s also worth noting, he recovered much quicker than expected). Considering the amount of votes that Kobe is getting even after re-injuring himself, a mere seven-game absence should hardly be enough to keep the ‘Brow from All-Star consideration.
Now, let’s look at his competition. Of the three starting frontcourt players, Kevin Durant is practically guaranteed to be one of them, both due to his popularity and because he legitimately is one of the two best players in the league. That leaves two other spots in the starting lineup. One will likely go to Dwight Howard because he’s one of the most recognizable players in the game. After that, it’s a three-way battle for a starting spot between Davis, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Personally, I’d give the nod to Aldridge, since he’s picked up his game from the already-excellent level he’s played at the past three years and because the Blazers have been the surprise team of the year at 23-5. Some of will find it tacky to award a spot to a guy simply because he’s the best player on one of the best teams, but it goes beyond that – Aldridge can completely dominate games, as seen in his 31-point, 25-rebound performance against the Houston Rockets.
So, Davis would be left out of my starting lineup, but he would definitely earn a spot off the bench. Davis and Love are obvious choices as the first two reserve bigs. Love returned to his mind-boggling 2011-12 numbers after losing an entire year due to injury, while Davis has become the player we all desperately hoped he would become.
As the All-Star game draws nearer, assuming Davis stays healthy, he seven games he missed he will look like less and less time and if the Pelicans get their record over .500 with Davis leading them, the case would only grow stronger. But even if the Pelicans still linger toward the lower rung of the Western Conference, Davis still deserves to be rewarded. His team is still figuring it out, but he’s already become one of the best players in the league, and the likelihood that he’ll only get much should both entice and frighten us all.