Kevin Durant is a four-time scoring champion, so when he decides to make a prediction about who might take the crown this season, we should probably listen more closely than usual — even if he names someone you might not initially expect.
Speaking to reporters at shootaround in advance of Friday’s contest in New Orleans against the Pelicans, Durant said Anthony Davis is the player he believes has the inside track on the title this season.
“He can score from anywhere on the floor, and he’s probably going to lead the league in scoring this year easily,” Durant said.
Davis scored 50 points in the season-opener, so he’s definitely capable of putting up big numbers — especially on a Pelicans team that is worse than last season from a talent perspective after losing Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson to Houston in free agency.
The Pelicans are devoid of any significant scoring threat beyond Davis, so he’s going to get the bulk of his team’s shots on a nightly basis. He’s an absolute monster for opposing defenses to deal with, even while employing a team defensive scheme.
But once opponents begin to realize that Davis has little-to-no help, the double- and triple-teams will start to come, and the video game-like numbers will eventually cease. That’s OK, though, because Stephen Curry led the league last year with a 30.1 points-per-game average, which is a totally reasonable threshold for Davis to reach.
The one thing that could prevent Davis from getting there is his history of injury. A player must appear in at least 58 games to qualify as a statistical league leader. Davis appeared in just 61 games last year, and never more than 68 in his four NBA seasons.
But if he stays healthy, Davis will have a great shot at making Durant’s prediction come true.