After winning a gold medal on the 2012 U.S. Olympic team and remaining a member in the USA Basketball program for two years, a number of NBA scouts and coaches predicted that New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis’ learning curve would be accelerated.

But no one, including Pelicans coach Monty Williams, expected Davis to ascend as rapidly and seamlessly as he did this season. After putting up modest numbers as a rookie, Davis rose to elite level.

Davis, 21, raised his scoring average to 20.8 points from 13.5 last season as a rookie. His player-efficiency rating, which is used to measure a player's per-minute production, soared to a 26.5 rating - the fourth highest in the NBA.

Last season, he ranked 14th with a 21.7 rating.

''I didn't see all this,'' Williams said. ''I had a conversation with him near the end of last season and I just told him I'm going to take the handcuffs off and you've got to show improvement.''

He had nine games of scoring at least 30 points after not having any last season. And he had 27 20-point/10 rebound performances after having only six as a rookie. In March, Davis set a franchise-record when he scored at least 28 points in eight consecutive games.

Davis' rapid progression this season is comparable to what NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant both achieved during their second season's in the league. James improved his scoring average from 20.9 to 27.2 in his second season and his rebounding average improved to 7.4 from 5.5 per game as a rookie.