It’s nothing that we’ve never seen before. Rarely does a lottery-pick with high-volume talent arise himself into a winning situation. NBA All-Star Power Forward and former Kentucky alum Anthony Davis will be the first player to tell you.
As projected, the former McDonald’s All-American and NCAA champion has made the transition from a short, lanky freshman in High School — to one of the league’s most dominantly-progressed players. We know the entire success story, and it’s one to certainly never forget.
Anthony Davis has come a very-long way, but has his hardest challenge already begun to present itself?
While being attached to a career win-loss record of 127-164, Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans (originally Hornets) have yet to raise any “brows” other than making the postseason in 2015 — only to lose in the first round to the Golden State Warriors in a four-game sweep.
But for Davis, his numbers have been absolutely dominant in 2016-17, while the Pelicans are a miserable 12-21, and 11th in the Western Conference. He’s been busy, stacking up tremendous numbers of 29.6 Points per game, 11.7 Rebounds per game, 2.2 Assists per game, 1.4 Steals per game, and an always-riducolus 2.7 Blocks per game. Davis currently has the NBA’s highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) at 28.5, and New Orleans has needed every drop of it.
If the Pelicans fail to make the postseason this year, it’ll be the fourth in Davis’ five seasons in the NBA. Many have asked, and it’s nothing one cannot run away from: Is Anthony Davis tired of losing?
It’s a dumbfounded question, of course. I mean, who in any column of recreational sports would enjoy the feeling of losing, especially if your competing to win? It’s not Anthony Davis’ mindset, that’s for sure.
But what if “losing” has actually made him better?
Throughout these seasons of pure struggle and disillusion, Anthony has been able to become the unanimous leader for a disrupt franchise a la, New Orleans. His current situation with injured players around him including himself has been tormenting, but one could only imagine how dreadful of a roster this team would be without him.
- Per 100 possessions, Davis is averaging 39.1 PPG, 15.5 RPG, and 3.6 BPG.
- In the month of November, Davis put up averages of 31.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and had a TS% of 61%. The Pelicans went 6-8 in that stretch.
- Without Davis in the lineup, the New Orleans obtains a 20-45 record.
- New Orleans is 31-26 when Davis scores 30 or more points in a game.
- New Orleans is 7-4 when Davis scores 40 or more points in a game.
So the story however, is that even when Davis is placing the team on his back, it’s been more of a slight-edge of success, than failure. But in reality, we know he cannot win with this Pelicans’ roster.
Throughout these last few years, it’s been very difficult to build a strong core around Davis. We were nearly beginning to see it, with Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, and Omer Asik, but injuries between all of them have derailed that.
But less we forget, Davis is still 23 years old, and is 3-4 years away from his projected peak. Is it fair that he understands how losing works in the NBA, before polishing himself as a champion, later in the future?
I’d say so. The Pelicans may not have the talent to make a “deep” playoff-run, but there’s more than enough to make it there, again. It’s in my belief that if players such as Buddy Hield, who New Orleans selected sixth-overall in the 2016 Draft, starts coming along. Combine that as well as the potential of drafting and solid, we could definitely see a competitive team within the next 2-3 seasons.
After a five-year contract extension last year, Davis has made it clear that New Orleans is where he’s staying, and with so much uncertainty in the present, the future looks about as pellucid as you can predict for him.
The losing, is necessary.
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