During his first season in Los Angeles with LeBron James, Davis continued his two-way dominance as one of the best bigs in the NBA. He was the second-ranked fantasy player in eight-category leagues behind only James Harden, averaging 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.3 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.2 threes. Davis coupled that with great efficiency, shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe. He also had one of his healthiest seasons, missing only nine combined games during the regular season and playoffs — the Lakers winning the championship. Injuries should still be a concern for fantasy managers interested in drafting Davis, but his upside remains high enough to be selected within the first few picks of most fantasy leagues. His role in 2020-21 should remain nearly identical to what we saw from him in 2019-20, and he’s still young enough (entering his age 27 season) to still make some improvements, especially as a playmaker and three-point shooter.
Davis was limited to 56 games during the 2018-19 campaign, largely due to a mid-season public trade request (that was not granted until the offseason). Once the trade deadline passed and Davis was still a member of the Pelicans, he saw his workload reduced substantially. The Brow never played more than 24 minutes after Feb. 9, and he appeared in just 13 of the final 25 games of the season. But it’s most important to look at how he performed before things reached a breaking point. Through his first 41 appearances of the season, Davis averaged 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and a combined 4.3 blocks/steals. Had he sustained those numbers across the entire year, Davis would have become just the second player in NBA history to average at least 29 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks — the other being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. With the Lakers trading for Davis in the offseason, he instantly becomes the best teammate LeBron James has ever had, and the combination figures to be one of the deadliest in the NBA. While playing next to LeBron could reduce Davis’ usage, there’s a possibility that it will free up his game in different ways. Increased attention on LeBron could result in increased efficiency for Davis, and considering LeBron is the best passer Davis has ever played with, the big man could be in line for some easy buckets off pick-and-rolls. Ultimately, Davis should continue producing at an MVP-caliber level.
Davis had one of the more memorable Fantasy seasons in recent memory, finishing as the number one overall player in many formats. Coming into the season, he was certainly in the discussion as the No. 1 draft pick, but his injury history led to some justifiable trepidation. Despite heading to the locker room on a number of occasions, Davis managed to play in 75 games, which was more than enough to buoy his status as a top-five Fantasy commodity in nearly any format. His numbers were phenomenal, with averages of 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.6 blocks per game, to go with 53.4 percent shooting from the field and 82.8 percent from the charity stripe. His efforts on the offensive end were obvious, but his defensive abilities were other-worldly. Davis demonstrated the ability to lock down an entire section of the court single-handedly, especially during the four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Davis finished the season as the runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award, and he placed third in MVP voting behind James Harden and LeBron James. Looking ahead to this season, owners should expect another dominant campaign, provided Davis can again stay even relatively healthy. He’ll no longer have DeMarcus Cousins by his side, but the Pelicans added a promising young big man in Julius Randle in free agency. Randle could take a couple of rebounds away from Davis here and there, but, like Cousins, he offers little on the defensive end of the floor. On the whole, Davis’ scoring and rebounding could take a slight hit, but there’s no reason to believe he shouldn’t be able to maintain his elite defensive numbers and magnificent efficiency. The injury concerns will always be there, but after two consecutive seasons of 75 games, Davis is once again firmly in the discussion as the No. 1 overall Fantasy commodity.
Davis’ career has been marred by injuries, missing at least 14 games in every year prior to the 2016-17 campaign. However, he finally put together nearly a full season without missing extended time, playing in a career-high 75 games, which rewarded owners that opted to select the risky big man early on in Fantasy drafts. The added health allowed him to put together his best year as a professional, averaging 28.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks across 36.1 minutes. The points and rebounds marked career highs, while his assists, steals and blocks remained relatively similar to what he’s averaged over his five-year career. Davis also continued his attempt to extend his range and drained a career-high 40 three-pointers, although he shot just 29.9 percent and is clearly still a work in progress in that department. One of the biggest threats to Davis’ value came at the trade deadline in February, with the Pelicans trading for superstar big man DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins’ presence ultimately was a non-factor for Davis’ production, though, and the two were able to share the ball without sacrificing much value as they played alongside each other at power forward and center. Davis was able to secure his fourth straight All-Star bid — including the infamous All-Star Game MVP — while also grabbing All-NBA First Team honors for the second time in his career and earning NBA All-Defensive Second Team once again. Looking forward to the upcoming season, the Davis-Cousins combo should be back in full force. The Pelicans return Jrue Holiday on a max deal and signed Rajon Rondo in free agency, two willing passers who excel at getting their teammates involved. That’s an added bonus for Davis, who’s only 23 years old and should still be on the rise in his attempt to lead the Pelicans back to the playoffs. Injury risk will continue to be the biggest factor in determining where Davis falls in drafts, but his relatively healthy 2016-17 season should give owners an idea of what to expect if he’s able to avoid injury. Cousins is already a solid deep ball shooter and it wouldn’t be surprising if Davis tried to work that into his game further, which would allow the two to space the floor a little bit better and give each other some room to work in the post. That would add only another dimension to Davis’ already incredible all-around portfolio, which is why he’s always a candidate to be selected as a top-5 pick in Fantasy drafts. The injury risk will continue to linger, but look for Davis to remain the premier power forward in the NBA, even if he loses a few touches to Cousins.
Davis’ averages this past season of 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals were remarkably similar to what he had posted the previous year, but it somehow registered as a disappointment for most fantasy owners. The 23-year-old was touted as a No. 1 overall pick in some leagues, with his most ardent supporters forecasting overall improvement in his fourth NBA season and projecting him to see more time after missing 14 games in 2014-15. However, with the injury-battered Pelicans frequently playing without three of their key backcourt pieces in Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon at various points in the season, Davis took on more responsibilities closer to the perimeter, which had a negative effect on his stat lines. His turnover rate spiked to a career-high 2.0 per game and his three-point attempts picked up considerably, with Davis hoisting 108 treys (and hitting them at a 32.4% clip) after attempting 27 combined in his first three seasons in the NBA. The dalliance with the outside shot resulted in Davis’ field-goal percentage dropping below 50 percent for the first time in his career. The downturn in efficiency was the least of Davis’ problems, however, as the big man was still providing ample value across the board to fantasy owners. Instead, it was health issues that were again the primary culprit for Davis, who suited up for a career-low 61 games. In addition, Davis left seven games early due to injury, often making him a difficult player to trust in weekly and DFS formats. Davis would get shut down for good in March after it was revealed that he was dealing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury that he’d been battling since his rookie year, along a sore left knee that would require surgery. The two ailments forced Davis to skip the 2016 Summer Olympics and turn his attention toward getting ready for the 2016-17 season. By all indications, he’s progressed well in his recovery and will enter training camp at full health. From a talent standpoint, Davis stacks up well with any player in the league — for evidence of that, look no further than his 59-point, 20-rebound effort against the Pistons on Feb. 21 — and his rare ability to contribute in the defensive categories while ranking among the league leaders in scoring makes him a premium fantasy asset. However, with at least 14 games missed in each of his four seasons, it’s not necessarily unfair to downgrade him in comparison to other first-round fantasy no-brainers like Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, who possess much more reliable track records in the health department. If you decide to invest in Davis, it’s best to buoy your roster with solid reinforcements in the frontcourt in order to help mitigate some of the risk he carries.
Davis continued his rapid rise to becoming one of the best players in the NBA with another standout season in 2014-15. New Orleans’ franchise player set career highs in every meaningful category, averaging 36 minutes per game over 68 contests. Playing most of the season as a 21-year-old, Davis averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.9 blocks per game. To put those in perspective, Davis led the league on a per-game basis in blocked shots, finished fourth in points, the top-10 in rebounding and field goal percentage (54%), and behind just Paul Millsap in steals per game among power forwards. Entering his fourth season in the league, Davis is still actually younger than 2015 first-round picks Jerian Grant, Delon Wright, and Larry Nance, Jr., while just a few months older than lottery picks Frank Kaminsky and Willie Cauley-Stein. New head coach Alvin Gentry was hired by the Pelicans to ratchet up the offense, which should only mean good things for a dynamic force like Davis. Expect the Kentucky product to remain the focal point of the offensive attack in New Orleans while continuing to terrorize opponents on defense. The only thing that can stop Davis is himself, as he has never played more than 68 games in a season.
Davis comes into his third NBA season with sky-high expectations. He made his first All-Star game last season, averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and a league-leading 2.8 blocks in 35 minutes per game. Davis managed to do all that damage while shooting an efficient 52 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the free-throw line. The 21-year-old hasn’t reached his peak yet, and seemingly the only thing that can stop him in 2014-15 is his health. Davis missed 15 games last season with back, ankle, finger, and hand issues and only played in 64 games his rookie season with various ailments. He put on muscle this summer to try to avoid injuries, but it remains to be seen how his body will respond after spending the summer with USA Basketball in Spain for the World Cup. Assuming he’s healthy, Davis should only continue to improve this year. On a per-36 minute basis, he improved in every counting stat last season, with the exception of steals, where he dropped from 1.5 steals per 36 his rookie year to 1.4 steals as a sophomore. The health of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and others may detract from Davis’ lofty scoring totals, but he should remain the focal point of the Pelicans offense while continuing to anchor the defense by blocking shots and snapping up rebounds.
Davis had an injury-riddled rookie campaign, managing to play just 64 games. Despite this, he displayed magnificent potential on both ends of the court, scoring in a wide variety of ways and defensively matching up against some of the top forwards in the league. Davis finished the 2012-13 season with averages of 13.5 points (52 percent from the field, 75 percent from the line), 8.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.2 steals and 1.8 blocks in 29 minutes per game. Heading into his sophomore year, Davis’s potential is sky-high, as his athleticism and knack for the ball on both ends of the court could elevate his game to the elite level as early as this coming season. He was able to put up stellar numbers last season despite playing just 29 minutes per game. With Davis being the clear cornerstone of the Pelicans, and with a new point guard partner Jrue Holiday taking the ball at the helm, one can only imagine how effective Davis can become in his sophomore campaign if given 30-plus minutes per game. He is more than likely to be a valuable fantasy asset in all formats as long as he can remain healthy.
Davis was the prize of the 2012 draft and comes to New Orleans brimming with confidence after winning the NCAA title and then returning home from the London Olympics with a gold medal. At 220 lbs., the 19-year-old Davis will need to bulk up to withstand the crowded areas near the hoop, even though he’s already considered a good defender. His post up game–heck, his overall offensive game–needs improvement, but he should be able to contribute right away as a rebounder and shot-blocker in the NBA. Improvement will come, but he won’t be finely tuned in just one offseason. Davis showed he can finish pretty effectively at the University of Kentucky, which will help in the pick-and-roll crazy world of the NBA. He joins Ryan Anderson, Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick and Jason Smith all looking for minutes. Davis and Anderson should get the bulk of the minutes at power forward. If the Hornets want to push the ball, Davis is athletic enough to do that. As a finisher, he’ll thrive in an offense that pushes the ball, while disguising the things he doesn’t do well. Kentucky coach John Calipari spoke a lot about Davis sacrificing the finer parts of his offensive skill set to help fit into the mold of Kentucky’s team plan last season, and there’s been some talk that Davis’ early years in high school as a point guard could mean he has the handles and perimeter game to contribute in several aspects of the game that he wasn’t asked to play a part in with Kentucky. If those assertions prove true, Davis could have a higher ceiling in the NBA than what he showed at Kentucky.