Why Anthony Davis will be a top-five player in the NBA
0:39 | NBA
Why Anthony Davis will be a top-five player in the NBA
Wednesday October 29th, 2014

No NBA player drew more offseason hype than Anthony Davis and the freakishly talented Pelicans forward wasted no time proving that the chatter was warranted.

Davis, 21, had a night to remember in a 101-84 season opening victory over Orlando in New Orleans on Tuesday. His final stat line: 26 points (on 10-for-22 shooting), 17 rebounds, nine blocks (tying his career-high) and three steals in 36 minutes.

"I just made sure I rebounded, hustled, [defended] the paint and [tried] to run the floor," Davis said afterwards, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.   

Those gaudy numbers could have been even more ridiculous, but he was pulled from the game by coach Monty Williams with more than two minutes remaining because the Pelicans were up by 23 points. 

"He's a star in the making," gushed Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

How does Davis's stat-stuffing performance stack up? 

• The NBA's official history account notes that Davis is the first player to ever record 25+ points, 15+ rebounds and 9+ blocks in a season opener, citing Elias Sports.

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• The last player to register 26+ points, 17+ rebounds and 9+ blocks in a game was then-Magic center Dwight Howard in a Nov. 12, 2008, game against the Thunder. Howard finished with 30 points, 19 rebounds, 10 blocks and three assists. Howard and Davis are the only players to hit those benchmarks since Nov. 1994. 

Davis is the youngest player to ever register 26+ points, 17+ rebounds and 9+ blocks, eclipsing then-Sixers center Shawn Bradley, who posted 28 points, 22 rebounds and nine blocks in a Nov. 18, 1994, game against the Clippers at age 22.

•​ The last player to register 26+ points, 17+ rebounds, 9+ blocks and 3+ steals in a game was Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon in a March 3, 1990, game against the Warriors. Olajuwon, a Hall of Famer, posted 29 points, 18 rebounds, 11 blocks, nine assists and five steals. Olajuwon is also the only player to ever reach this benchmark prior to Davis, accomplishing the feat four times. 

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•​ The last player to register nine blocks in a game was Clippers center DeAndre Jordan in a Nov. 29, 2013, game against the Kings

What stood out most about Davis's night was the sheer variety of his blocks, which showed off his fluidity, timing, length and versatility.

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Davis actually recorded blocks against six different Magic players: Evan Fournier, Tobias Harris, Elfrid Payton, Kyle O'Quinn, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. Remarkably, that groups includes guys at all five positions, point guard through center. Additionally, Davis registered blocks using both his left and right hand, turning back shots everywhere from the rim to the free-throw line. 

The following image shows all nine of Davis's blocks as he made them. Click here to see the full version.

Check out the video highlights as well.

Images via | Video via YouTube user Basketball Highlights

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