If Anthony Davis retired now from the NBA, for some unexpected reason, he would be worthy of induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame based on his career thus far. Davis doesn’t need to score another point, block another shot, be selected to another All-Star game, or even win a championship in order to become a future Hall-of-Famer: because he already is one.
Davis, born in Chicago, celebrated his 27th birthday on March 11. And he already has a better Hall of Fame case than Kevin Love, Chauncey Billups, Amar’e Stoudemire, and even Kawhi Leonard.
The main barometer we’ll be using to compare players is Pro Basketball Reference’s Hall of Fame Probability. The metric uses a player’s current statistics and accomplishments to calculate the odds they get into the Hall of Fame. You can read about how Pro Basketball Reference gets their number, but in a nutshell, the formula looks at a player’s height, number of championships won, their peak win share, All-Star game selections, and then points for finishing in the Top Ten of six statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, minutes, steals, and blocks.)
Dumbing it down even further: putting up league-leading numbers, getting selected as an All-Star, being the best player on your team, and winning championships all increase your odds of being elected to the basketball Hall of Fame.
Three active players hold a 100% of getting into the Hall of Fame: LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Dwight Howard, and Steph Curry are right behind with a 99% chance of eventual induction if they retired today. But even Harden, the youngest of this bunch, is already 30 years old, with more seasons under his belt.
In his 8th season, now at 27 years old, Davis holds an 91% chance of making it into the Hall of Fame based on his current accolades.
This places Davis just below active players like Vince Carter (95%) and Pau Gasol (94%,) but these players are at the tail-end of their storied careers. Davis could pass them in just a season or two: and keep on climbing up the list of all-time greats.
You may be surprised to see Davis sitting at 81st on the all-time list of players for Hall of Fame chances. The algorithm suggest his current career has already been more Hall of Fame-worthy than those of Tim Hardaway (79%,) Denis Rodman (75%,) and Yao Ming (53%.)
Among active players, Davis easily outpaces Paul George (106th, 65%,) Kyrie Irving (108th, 65%,) and Kawhi Leonard (115th, 55%.)
On the court, Davis has been a statistical machine. Through eight seasons, the power forward/center has totaled 12,526 points, 5,423 rebounds, 1,154 assists and 1,255 blocks. His career averages are 24.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.4 blocks per game. Davis has led the NBA in blocks three times, with a career-high of 2.9 blocks per game in just his third season, at 21 years old.
Davis has been selected to seven NBA All-Star games, and has been chosen three times as a first-team All-NBA player, and one first-team All Defensive player. In 2017, he won the All-Star Game MVP award.
Davis leads the New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets franchise in the following categories after his seven seasons with the team:
- Field goals made
- Field goals attempted
- Field goals missed
- Free throws made
- Free throws attempted
- Offensive rebounds
- Defensive rebounds
- Total rebounds
- Points Per Game
- Blocks Per Game
- Player Efficiency Rating
- Usage percent
- Defensive win shares
Win shares, which measure a player’s contribution to their team, tell a strong story of Davis’ value on the court. His career-high of 14.0 win shares outpaces any season Leonard, George, or Jimmy Butler have ever put up. Each of Davis’ best six seasons outpace each of Leonard’s best six seasons, when compared one-by-one/head-to-head.
Davis’ Player Efficiency Rating (PER) is out of this world: he’s third all-time with a 27.50 rating, behind only Michael Jordan and LeBron James. When you’re in a category with only those two players, you’re in rare air.
Putting all the fancy numbers and metrics away, Davis is a special player that will leave his impact on the league for years to come after his eventual retirement. For seven seasons, he thrived as the Pelicans only real offensive option. Now with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, Davis continues to shine, leading the team in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks per game.
Davis will undoubtedly pile on even more statistics as his career continues, further cementing his Hall of Fame case. The Lakers are in line to compete for an NBA Championship at least this year, if not for longer if Davis stays on the team. Championship rings would just be icing on the cake as far as the Hall of Fame goes: but could eventually propel Davis into the discussion as one the greatest big men, or even players, of all time.
Each time Davis suits up for the Lakers this season, fans are watching a future Hall of Famer in motion. The former Kentucky Wildcat would make the Hall of Fame even if he never touched a basketball again.
Header Photo Credit: USA Today Sports/Steve Mitchell
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