There are names that deservedly do not get thrown around very often in regards to player comparisons. Tim Duncan is one of those names.
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry just heaped heavy praise upon his superstar big-man Anthony Davis.
Nick Friedell wrote an interesting piece for ESPN which detailed how highly Gentry thinks of Davis as a basketball player.
He noted that Davis and Duncan are not only supremely talented frontcourt players but also have low-maintenance personalities that make teammates enjoy being around them.
Davis heard about Gentry’s praise, and was extremely flattered, considering that Duncan was one of his basketball role models coming up.
Gentry noted that the comparison isn’t perfect. Duncan is a better back-to-the-basket player, for example, but he seemed to base it more on positional talent and personality traits.
They seem like similar personality types, and Gentry is obviously just speculating on the type of impact Davis will have in the future.
Gentry was right to emphasize their similarities as high-character guys. As talented as Davis is, he has a long way to go to reach Duncan’s level as a player.
Davis has played in the NBA for 6 seasons, and this is only the second time his team has made the playoffs. Before this season, he had never won a playoff game.
Duncan is lauded as not only a generational talent but the consummate winner. The Spurs were perennial contenders during his career and won 5 champions with him.
Nobody denies that Davis has such remarkable potential to do great things in the league. His skillset at his height is basically unrealistic.
A fear is that these comments that Gentry made might have set up his star for unnecessary criticism. While he meant it more in terms of psychological makeup, it’s easy to misconstrue it as implying Davis should be mentioned in the same sentence as Duncan as a basketball player. That’s not the case yet.
Davis currently has a huge task at hand, as he and the Pelicans will try to avoid being eliminated by the Golden State Warriors in game 5 tonight in Oakland.