5 Reasons Why Anthony Davis Should Win 2014 NBA Most Improved Player

5 Reasons Why Anthony Davis Should Win 2014 NBA Most Improved Player

Anthony Davis
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis showed up this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, and even though the team finished with a 34-48 record in the Western Conference, that should not take away from acknowledging the fact that Davis has grown in one season from being a high draft pick with upside to a flat-out star player. Here are five reasons why Davis should be named the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player.

5. Scoring

Anthony Davis 1
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

5. Scoring

Anthony Davis 1
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most obvious improvements to Davis' game this past season was his ability to score the basketball. Davis improved his scoring average dramatically from 13.5 points per game in his rookie season to 20.8 points per game this past season. Davis was the alpha dog on offense, and improvements in shooting (43.1% from 10-16 feet as opposed to 37.3% in his rookie season) as well as his free throws (79.1% to 75.1%) allowed him to be that guy.

4. Shot Blocking

Anthony Davis 2
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

4. Shot Blocking

Anthony Davis 2
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Davis was billed coming out of college as one of the best shot blocking prospects the NBA has arguably ever seen. While he made an impact in that area during his rookie season (1.8 blocks per game), his improvement in his sophomore season trumped that. Davis averaged 2.8 blocks per game this past season, showing his improvement in reading the defense and adjusting the timing necessary to block NBA players who are craftier than college players.

3. Rebounding

Anthony Davis 3
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

3. Rebounding

Anthony Davis 3
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Davis is a long and lanky athlete (6-foot-10, 220-pounds) who is not expected to have such an impact rebounding the ball. Yes Davis has the length to be a factor, but his frame does not say that he is ready to bang down low with the likes of NBA big men. Davis went out and got stronger, and it showed in his improvement in rebounding the basketball. He averaged 10.0 rebounds per game this past season and showed he can be an anchor down low.

2. Hustle

Anthony Davis 4
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2. Hustle

Anthony Davis 4
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

One of the hurdles that coaches in the NBA have to deal with in terms of young players coming into the league is getting them to play with intensity and hustle and play hard on both ends of the floor. Davis plays as hard as anyone when he is on the court, and his willingness to go out there and be a force who gives it his all speaks to his development as a mature NBA player. That really deserves to be recognized.

1. Athletic Ability

Anthony Davis 5
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

1. Athletic Ability

Anthony Davis 5
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Davis is a pure mismatch in the post, and he has figured out how to take advantage of it. Davis has the speed and ball-handling skills of a guard, allowing him to be a face-up nightmare for his bigger opponents. When down low in the post, Davis can rise above the other big men and finish over them, making him a very dangerous player. Davis learned how to take advantage of his physical traits, which was a big reason for his improvement.

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  • Tigger Too

    As a lifelong Kentucky Wildcats fan who BLEEDS BLUE, I loves me some Anthony Davis! I was disappointed when he left Kentucky after his freshman year to enter the NBA draft, but with a player as talented as he is, going pro after a year of college hoops was inevitable, a virtual no-brainer. Hey, you can’t blame a great baller like Davis for grabbing the brass ring and going for the big bucks early in his career. SHOW ME THE MONEY! And you’ve gotta LOVE that unibrow look! [Kentucky's Coach Cal should have been named the NCAA'S 2014 Coach Of The Year for the awesome job he did this past season, coaching five freshman starters all the way to the championship game.]