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NBA PM: Anthony Davis Continues to Grow (Literally)

Anthony Davis continues to bulk up and improve his game, which is scary for the rest of the NBA.

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Anthony Davis Adding Muscle to Talent

It sure didn’t take long for New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis to establish himself as the most well-rounded player in the entire NBA. He did it in just his third NBA season, at 21 years old, dominating on both ends of the floor.

Davis credits the quick adjustment to his commitment to the weight room.

“Just getting stronger [was the toughest thing],” Davis said of his biggest challenge entering the NBA. “There are a lot of grown men in this league, and they’ve got a lot of strength and power. So I think the biggest thing for me was just getting stronger and being able to hold my own… not let guys push you around.”

A quick look at the healthy weight gain since his rookie season shows he’s absolutely on the right track.

“I was 212 lbs. when I came in, and I’m 240 now [from] lifting and eating,” he said.

Of course, for a rookie to make an immediate impact in the league and for a third-year player to be as dominant as Davis has been, a young man needs a whole lot more than just upper body strength. When asked about the biggest difference between last season and this campaign, Davis didn’t hesitate.

“It’s all confidence; I’m more confident in my game,” Davis said. “I’ve been working all summer on my game, got out there with the USA team and I have a lot of confidence in myself and my teammates.”

Davis’ confidence has continued to skyrocket this season, as he’s in the midst of a career-year in which he’s averaging 24.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.5 steals, and hearing his name mentioned as a Most Valuable Player candidate.

The teammates that Davis mentioned are scrapping for a shot at the playoffs this year, and the superstar forward believes he isn’t the only one out there who thinks they have a real shot at making the postseason.

“We have a lot of confidence. A lot of confidence,” Davis said when asked if New Orleans has the pieces around him to contend in the West. “We just have to go out there and win, play hard, play with that energy, that passion that we know we could. We have shown signs that we can do it. I think we can beat any team; we just have to go out there and fight.”

And make no mistake, Davis truly believes the Pelicans have the right roster to be a real pain in the playoffs, should they squeak in.

“Those guys are terrific ball players, scrappy, play defense,” Davis said of his supporting cast. “I think we have all the pieces. We just hope that we stay healthy.”

That, and play really well down the stretch.

“We just have to go out there and defend, play solid basketball, have fun and continue to do the things that we do,” Davis said. “We know that it’s a battle with OKC and Phoenix, but it’s basketball, it’s the NBA, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In only his third season in the NBA, Davis has already made his mark in the NBA and it seems he’ll win an MVP trophy and championship at some point in his future, but he also knows it wasn’t that long ago he was an undersized sophomore guard just trying to make a name for himself in prep hoops, let alone college hoops or the NBA.

“I do sit back and realize how far I’ve come and how blessed I am,” Davis said. “When I go back and look at my old pictures or watch high school film I’m like, ‘This is how I used to play? This is how I looked?’ I think that’s the craziest part. I wasn’t good at all!”

Goodness, how things have changed.

Matthew Dellavedova Sees Tide Turning in Cleveland

Sometimes, people think that everything that’s happened in Cleveland this year has happened only to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and LeBron James, but sometimes the role players in the middle part of the rotation have the best perspective on what’s going on with a team.

That seems to be the case with Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova , who seems to see everything the same way that the media does.

“Any time you have a new team together, there’s going to be ups and downs in getting used to each other and playing a different system,” he said. “We stuck together during those tough times, and it’s definitely going to help us down the road.”

In fact, it seems to have been helping them the past several weeks, as Cleveland has ripped off a whole lot of wins en route to establishing themselves as the Eastern Conference powerhouse we all thought they’d be heading into the season.

“[Our recent success] is definitely important,” Dellavedova daid. “We won 14 of the last 16 before the All-Star break. If we can keep doing that in the second half, that would definitely be a good thing.”

Making a couple of key trades for Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert helped jump-start the Cavaliers, proving that sometimes a great team needs the glue just as much as the bricks.

“Mozgov, J.R. and Shump have all brought a great energy and enthusiasm and have fit in straight away,” Dellavedova said. “Our chemistry has been building since that and we’ll continue to get better.”

All that said, Dellavedova doesn’t think we’ve seen the best of this team yet.

“I think there’s a long way to go, and there’s still a lot of room improvement, which is exciting,” he said. “We’re going to keep working hard and see what happens in the second half of the season.”

Fans are likely to see a whole lot more success, and Dellavedova is going to have the best seat in the house.

Joel Brigham is a senior writer for Basketball Insiders, covering the Central Division and fantasy basketball.

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