Anthony Davis: Pelicans Best Hope to Make it into Playoffs

Author: Nirwan Vibhor


Anthony Davis this season, is simply phenomenal. Not only is he playing some of the best basketball of his entire career, his recent run is truly among the best in recent memory. In the past five games, every one of whom the Pelicans have won, Davis is averaging a whopping 39.2 points along with 14.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 3.6 steals, and 1.8 assists per game. All of this while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point line and 54 percent from the overall field. No wonder, Davis is currently 2-seed in scoring, 2-seed in blocks, and 8-seed in rebounding this season.

This type of run really forces you to believe how special a player Davis is. That said, Davis’ greatness is overlooked far too often. You must remember that the Pelicans have never always had great players, and even when Davis took to field with DeMarcus Cousins, the fans and critics both saw their talents as that of one super player.  Even Davis’s own coach, Alvin Gentry, admittedly started taking him for granted, seeing his consistently impressive game for the Pelicans. Gentry admitted that he’s almost starting to taking Davis for granted because not only he’s playing aggressive basketball, he’s doing it consistently and setting up the tone for the Pelicans early in each game.

This season, Davis is literally doing things that no other player has ever done before. In the game against Miami Heat this Friday, Davis put up 45 points, 5 steals, 17 rebounds, and 5 blocks; thus becoming the first player ever to record such stats in NBA. Moreover, Davis, this season is averaging 27.7 points, 2.2 blocks and 10.9 rebounds per game while shooting 35.7 percent from behind the 3-point arc. No other player has been able to put up such numbers for one whole season while taking as many 3-pointers (Davis averages 2.2 per game.) The only other player who comes to mind with similar numbers, irrespective of the 3-point attempts, is Hakeem Olajuwon in the 1993-94 season (he even was MVP that season)

The Pelicans simply cannot be where they are currently in the league without Davis on the court. With him, the Pelicans are plus-3.2 points every 100 possessions, while dropping all the way down to minus-4 points when he sits out. In terms of team rankings also, the Pelicans perform like the 6th-best team with Davis, and like the 24th-best team without him. If we talk about the Pels chances of making it to the playoffs, they are just two games behind the Spurs in third. Likewise, they're only 2 1/2 games in front of the Utah Jazz in tenth. To put things into perspective, therefore, Pelicans have a slim chance of making it to the playoffs this season and Davis is their best hope.

(All photographs are courtesy of the original owners unless otherwise indicated)



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