Anthony Davis has formally shed the “underrated” label.
While the New Orleans Pelicans star plays most of his games away from the national TV spotlight, the NBA awards voters left no doubt that Davis’ impact is universally accepted around the league.
Davis was the only player named as a Top-3 finalist for multiple individual postseason awards, earning a placement for not only the coveted Most Valuable Player honor but also Defensive Player of the Year.
The six-year veteran averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and a league-leading 2.6 blocks while shooting an efficient 53.4 percent from the field. He elevated his production after All-Star teammate DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon, eventually leading the Pelicans to a first-round playoff sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers, before succumbing to the Golden State Warriors in five games.
Now, he has the opportunity to add to his growing resume by taking home some hardware. The final voting results will be divulged during a televised NBA awards show on June 25 in Los Angeles.
Davis is hoping to become the first player in New Orleans’ franchise history to win either award. But he faces stiff competition in both categories.
The odds-on MVP favorite is Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden, who was the runner-up last season and led his team to an NBA-best 65 regular season wins. LeBron James rounds out the finalists, vying for his fifth career MVP award.
For Defensive Player of the Year, Davis is nominated amongst a group of fellow big men, joining Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
Davis’ previous-best MVP ranking was a fifth-place finish following the 2014-15 season. That year also marked his best ranking for Defensive Player of the Year, garnering the fourth-most votes.