Let me begin by saying it pains me deeply to mention a member of the 2008 Celtics championship team in a Lakers article, but we’re looking at Minnesota’s KG, so it’s all good.
Kevin Garnett is perhaps the best player to study when trying to project Anthony Davis’ career. Both entered the league at 19, were stars on small-market teams, and had incredible defensive instincts and offensive skillsets from a young age that made them elite.
Moreover, they both lead their teams in blocks per game every year (almost… KG was a close second his rookie year), and from years 3 to 8, lead their team in points per game as well as blocks. By year 8, it was more than apparent that KG was an all-time presence on both ends of the floor. Still, he would come in second to another All-Time great Tim Duncan in the MVP race.
In year 9, however, KG made it official; he was voted the best player in the league. 2003-2004 saw Garnett utterly dominate, setting career highs in points per game (24.2), blocks per game (2.2), and a monstrous 13.9 rebounds per game. It also saw him lead the league in Win Shares with an absurd 18.3.
Garnett always played with an unrivaled level of confidence and intensity, and this past year, Anthony Davis showed glimpses of that same mentality KG embodied; blocking shots all over the court, guarding opposing players 1 through 5, and stepping up big when it mattered most. Every Lakers fan remembers AD exclaiming, “I’m like that!” after his first career playoff buzzer-beater.
After coming in second to Giannis Antetokuonmpo in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, expect Davis to take a page out of KG’s book and come back even more motivated to prove to the world that he is the best at what he does.