In the Bonus: Pelicans' Davis back better than ever

In the Bonus: Pelicans' Davis back better than ever
January 3, 2014, 1:30 pm
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BOSTON — Before Anthony Davis suffered a non-displaced fracture of his pinkie finger on his left hand, he was having a pretty good season.

Since returning from the injury, he has been even better.

When you look at all the factors that have weighed into the New Orleans Pelicans being one of the more competitive teams in the Western Conference, the emergence of Davis is near the top of the list.

He's averaging a double-double of 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds along with a league-best 3.2 blocks per game.

Those numbers have been bolstered by his strong play since returning to the Pelicans lineup.

Before the injury, he was shooting 49.8 percent from the field. Since then, he's up to 57 percent.

He has been especially effective in the paint, increasing his shooting percentage to 63.2 percent compared to 55.2 percent prior to the injury.

And with a higher shooting percentage, it only makes sense for Davis to look to shoot inside the paint more often.

That too has seen a slight increase, up to 76 percent from 68.4.

And with players like Eric Gordon and All-Star Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson around him to space the floor, Davis is getting more and more of his points on easy dunks and lay-ups.

Since returning to the lineup, 57.4 percent of his shots have been dunks or lay-ups. Prior to that, it was just 41.8 percent.

Davis' improved play is just part of his growth process into being one of the NBA's more promising young big men.

"He understands he has a target on his back, but he hasn’t backed down," Pelicans head coach Monty Williams told The Jim Rome Show recently. "That’s one of the many reasons why we all love him and feel like he’s going to be a special player.”