Just How Injury Prone Is Anthony Davis?
Good morning, RotoGrinders. It’s another day, and to nobody’s surprise, Anthony Davis is hurt again. Everyone in the DFS community gives Brow a tough time for being injury prone, but is it a fair label? I actually woke up at 6am yesterday morning wrestling with that question. I have no idea why Brow’s injury history makes me lose sleep, but I wanted to dedicate a blog focused on the question: Is Anthony Davis injury prone? Now before I dig into any data, everyone would probably just say “Yes” and move on. But how does Davis’ games played compare to other players? That’s what I wanted to investigate.
You can follow me on Twitter here (username: @allanscardshop). Let’s dive in.
I decided to tackle this question by pulling his game logs for the past three seasons. I then wanted to compare his games played against his peers, specifically fellow All-Stars (Davis has been an All-Star himself the past three seasons). I felt it was fair to compare him to other high usage players who are putting as much wear and tear on their bodies as Davis is, as opposed to random bench fodder like Richard Jefferson or Shelvin Mack (apologies to you die-hard Richard Jefferson fans).
I graphed Davis’ games for the past three seasons compared to the All-Stars that year (anyone with an asterisk next to their name means they were voted an All-Star but did not play in the All-Star game due to injury). The red line is the median number games played in the season by the All-Stars to give you a baseline. One thing to note is that a missed game isn’t always indicative of an injury, but I’m going to use it as the closest proxy. For example, it’s possible a player sat due to rest or because they got suspended for getting too many technical fouls (Oh hi there, DeMarcus Cousins). Several things pop out to me:
1. Davis is indeed in the bottom third of games played each of the last three years among his All-Star peers, but he’s never last on the list. You could make the argument that if Chris Bosh didn’t have blood clots last year then Davis would have been last, but give Davis credit, he played 61 games in 2015-16!
2. Davis has played an average of 65 games the past three seasons. The median number of games played among All-Stars is about 76, so Davis misses around 11 games more than the average All-Star per season.
3. Kobe Bryant was in the bottom four of games played among All-Stars the past three seasons. In fact, it was so bad that in 2013-14 and 2014-15, he couldn’t even play in the All-Star games due to injuries. Why is it that we never gave Kobe the injury prone label at the end of his career? Is it because he just got old and we naturally expected old people to miss time? (No offense to all you oldies out there!)
4. This has nothing to do with Brow, but did anyone else remember that Roy Hibbert and DeMar DeRozan were All-Stars in the 2013-14 season? That blew my mind. Here we are, talking about DeRozan being an MVP scoring machine, and he was actually an All-Star 3 years ago.
I’ll end with this – Davis has been missing more games per season than the average All-Star according to the data, so the injury prone label is somewhat fair at this point in his career (especially given how young he is). But the one thing I’ve noticed looking through his injury logs are that none of his injuries are chronic. It’s not reflected in the charts above, but Davis has missed time with so many random injuries: sore quad, lower back, sprained ankle, sore left knee, concussion, etc. I have no idea why Davis gets hurt so often. Is it possible he’s too reckless, or his body is still developing, or he’s just “soft?” Sure, those are all possibilities. But I’m hopeful that maybe down the line, Davis can string together a few injury-free seasons so that we can see the Brow fully unleashed and have him change our perceptions of him.