30 PPG and 10 RPG in 1st 4 Career Playoff Games NBA History Anthony Davis Bob McAdoo Kareem Abdul Jabbar Wilt Chamberlain via @eliassports— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 26, 2015
Anthony Davis was an absolute monster this series. In the 4 games, he put up averages of 31.5 PPG, 11 REB, 2 AST, 3 BLK and 1.3 STL. Out of 36 free throw attempts in the series, he only missed 3. Up against the best defense in the NBA, he finished with a 54 FG%. In his postgame comments, Steve Kerr was absolutely right to tell AD that he was happy he wasn't going to be facing him anymore -- a fine compliment to a future multiple MVP winner.
In whichever way one feels like comparing Davis 2015 playoff output on Basketball Reference's play index, his numbers will jump off the page. My favorite part was probably the average distance on his field goal attempts. In the Pelicans-Warriors series, he averaged 9.3 feet on his shot attempts. McAdoo, Jabbar and Chamberlain all lived much closer to the rim, but despite this, AD posted the highest true shooting percentage (61.3 TS%) of the group.
Anthony Davis has truly started down the path of one of the most complete AND efficient scorers that may ever grace the NBA playoff landscape. His athleticism allows him to score easily around the rim. If you foul him, he's probably going to make both free throws. And his range? It's knocking on the door of Dirk Nowitzki at the ripe age of 22. Against Golden State, he had a 70.8 FG% from 0-3 feet, 50% from 3-10 feet, 52% from 10-16 and 42.9% from 16 < three-point line.
There exists no forcing-him-to-a-certain-part-of-the-floor because he's deadly from everywhere and doesn't shy away from anything (just have a look at his Playoffs Shooting % of FGA by Distance category). Just imagine if he ever feels confident enough to stretch his game out to the three-point line...
Draymond Green vs. Anthony Davis Addendum
Last week, there existed a widespread notion that Draymond Green was having a monster effect on Anthony Davis scoring abilities. Although the numbers didn't support AD in the first two games of the Pelicans-Warriors playoff series (Davis shot an official 7 for 19 against Green), the eye test seemed to support that AD's below average efficiency had more to do with his offensive failings rather than Green's defensive prowess.
Did the theory hold up in the two games in New Orleans?
In Game 3, Davis went 5 for 10, and in Game 4, 9 for 13. Cumulatively, he torched Green in the final games by knocking down 60.9% of his looks. Honestly, that field goal percentage could have been even higher. Two missed attempts in the third game came on trying to score in the same motion he made a difficult catch. THIS one from Jrue Holiday and THIS one from Norris Cole. A third came on a half-hearted three-point attempt in the final 22 seconds of Game 4 after the Pelicans were down 10 points.
For the series, Anthony Davis shot 54% from the floor, and specifically against Draymond Green, he had a 50.0 FG%. Really quite similar results, so...
Anthony Davis wound up averaging 31.5 points and 11 rebounds. But most of that was when he got free from Green.
Um, no. 42 of Davis' field goal attempts came against Green. 45 against the rest of the Golden State roster.
As I stated in my initial Green v. Davis piece, Draymond is a great defender who is worthy of the DPOY award. He will make an opponent work for it harder than 99% of the rest of the NBA. However, don't delude yourselves with narratives, he didn't prove to be some savant against Davis. Don't feel bad, no one is. (yet?)
Instead, if we're going to dole out credit, the entire Warriors squad deserves mention because Kerr's gameplan was the likeliest culprit for tiring Davis. Since Monty Williams didn't have much choice in the series, Davis was going to play in nearly all of the available minutes. Considering how effective he can be on both ends of the floor, it only made sense for Monty to also include him in the Pels' plans as much as possible. Golden State smartly made him work down the entire length of the floor as transcribed by Marcus Thompson several days ago. I only wish he'd have just decided to quit driving the Draymond Green wagon as the numbers bore out it wasn't remotely a prevailing factor.
Anthony Davis: "I’ll take a couple weeks, a month off, then get right back at it, working on my game and getting ready for next year."— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) April 26, 2015
After a virtuoso performance, he certainly deserves it; however, here's a scary thought: some unwitting 2016 NBA playoff team will probably have to face an improved Anthony Davis this time next year. Good luck with that!