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John Calipari on Anthony Davis: “In five years, he could be the best player in the NBA”

Aug 30, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT


It’s been a fun little debate this off-season: When will Anthony Davis become the third best player in the NBA?

I have said before it will happen in the next couple years, but when discussing it on Sirius XM NBA radio former NBA coach and GM Mike Dunleavy said it could happen by the end of this season. He’s that high on Davis.

Kentucky coach John Calipari took that discussion to another level speaking to the USA Today:

When will Davis become the best player overall in the NBA? Calipari said sooner than you mint think.

“Right now, you look at (Davis) and say, ‘Man, in five years, he could be the best player in the NBA,’ ” Calipari said. “And this USA Basketball stuff pushes that date sooner. Again, here’s what it does for him: how to work, new things to add to his game, and confidence like, ‘These are the best in the world, so I’m all right.'”

I know some of you will say: In five years LeBron James will be just 34 and we may only be starting to see some decline in his game.

Or in five years Kevin Durant will be 29 and in his prime — and he’s already the best pure scorer on the planet.

Both are true, as is the fact Calipari is a hype man for his former players.

That doesn’t make him wrong. In five years Davis could (and I think will) be playing on that level, he is that special a player. We’ll see how he develops, but he is about to be the star of this Team USA squad over more experienced guys like James Harden and Stephen Curry. Davis is improving by leaps each season right now.

While NBA owners like to focus on potential injuries and wear-and-tear on their players from this tournament (only because the owners don’t get any money from it, if they did they’d be all for it), the fact is a lot of guys have had career years after coming out of this environment. It’s not the games so much as the high level practices that push guys to improve. The best example was Derrick Rose’s MVP season coming after he was part of Team USA’s gold in this very tournament four years ago.

Davis is going to make a leap again this year, in part because of how he’s been pushed and the confidence he’s gaining from this summer. He is going to propel New Orleans to a new level (maybe the playoffs, although in the West that remains a tall order).

In five years… watch out.

  1. zerole00 - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    He has made strides every year. I’d say he’s posed to become the next (skinner) Shaq.

    • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      Wrong. U can’t compare his game to shaq’s AT ALL.

      • zerole00 - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM

        I was talking about his dominance, not their playstyle.

      • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:52 PM

        Hence the words : at all.

      • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:11 PM

        Kobe dominated. Let’s compare him to shaq.
        Matter fact, let’s compare all guards who dominate to shaq because that’s a reasonable why to make comparisons. And let’s ignore the fact we mentioned Davis being skinny. Because we were only talking about domination.

  2. sportsfan18 - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    Lebron will have declined by then… though he’ll easily still be one of the best in the game because he’s that good.

    It depends on what KD keeps going as to whether KD or Davis is the best. The other will be #2 and LBJ will be like #3 to #5 in the league in 5 yrs from now.

    Keep in mind folks, that 5 yrs from now, today, Lebron will ALREADY have played 16 seasons in the NBA.

    He is special, I know that. But it’s still difficult to be THE best in the NBA in one’s 17th season, which is what LBJ will be going into 5 yrs from now.

    That’s a lot of miles and min’s…

    Only 29 men in the history of the NBA have played 18 or more seasons in the league.

    LBJ going into his 17th season and being the best would surprise me, although its possible I guess… due to better medicine etc…

    I just don’t see it though.

    • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      There’s the sportsfan we all know. Long, essay like comments.

  3. 88heatnation - Aug 30, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    I don’t know about the best, I’d say top 5.

  4. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    To be the best in the league, you have to be a guy who makes others better and who pretty much guarantees his team 45+ wins no matter who you put around him.

    That’s hard to do for a power forward. Anthony Davis doesn’t have the ball enough to be the kind of playmaker that bails his team out at the end of the shot clock or creates a ton of opportunities for his teammates.

    I definitely think he’ll win a couple MVPs at some point but it’s hard to see him carrying a team like a superstar wing player.

    • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      U Dnt always have to make someone better to be the best. Smh.
      Allen iverson and shaq didn’t have to do that to show they were the best at certain times.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        I guess it depends on what we’re arguing. Everybody probably has a different opinion about what’s the “best player” in the league, but to me it’s the guy who most impacts his team’s success in a positive way. And I don’t think you can do that without being a team first guy.

        Kobe Bryant has been great most of his career but he has never been the best player in the league. His best season has to be 2005-06 when he averaged 35.4 points over 80 games and carried his team to 45 wins when their third best player was Smush Parker. That’s amazing, he should have won the MVP. But he’s still not the best player. I feel like LeBron or Nash in their primes would have won 50+ and somehow actually made Smush into an effective player.

        But these are just opinions.

      • money2long - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:56 PM

        Haha. I stopped reading when I saw Kobe was never best in the league. Pretty sure the game’s great players have donned Kobe with that title at some point. Even lebron.

      • urodaddy07 - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:07 PM

        Pundit is you crazy?

  5. mrlaloosh - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    In 5years, Davis will be in a bigger market making huge money.

  6. asimonetti88 - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    Fear the Brow! He will win some NBA Championships for Nowlins

  7. uscoach - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    He’s already in the conversation. I say by this time next year we all think he is the number one guy

  8. adoombray - Aug 30, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    same thing pbt said about rubio last year.

  9. prov1x - Aug 30, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Who cares what Cal has to say? Would you expect him to say anything less?

  10. campcouch - Aug 30, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Playoffs first, then talk about the best.

  11. Mr. Wright 212 - Aug 30, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    Barring major injury, he will be at least the second best — depending on what Wiggins does.

    You question Kobe every time we turn around, yet you act like LeBron won’t be 35 and have 17 years on those knees just like Kobe does right now.

    • thekiller678 - Aug 31, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      That’s true, but Kobe isn’t the freak of nature physically that LeBron is.

  12. canadatude - Aug 31, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Do they test for steroids in the NBA or just sweep it under the rug, like the NFL does? LeBron went to Miami to be closer to the clinic ARod used.

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