Even if Anthony Davis never made things awkward with his statement through Rich Paul about how he wants out of New Orleans and won’t sign an extension, things were already bad for the Pelicans. After making the postseason last year and sweeping their way to round two, nothing has gone right this time around. They have one of the worst defenses in the league, which all but erases their #3 scoring offense. They have been plagued left and right with injuries.
Now Anthony Davis may have played his last game for the Pelicans. Even if they don’t trade him at the deadline, rumors are now swirling that he may be shut down for the season to ensure the fact that he doesn’t get injured and scare away potential suitors. Davis is an injury waiting to happen, but he also averages 29 points, 13 boards, four assists, two steals, and three blocks per game while shooting over 50% from the floor. He is a top-five NBA talent, without a question.
If DeMarcus Cousins had never torn his Achilles a season ago, then perhaps we would not be in this situation, like how LeBron might not have left Cleveland again if Kyrie did not force his hand and go to Boston. We can’t go back and take away the things that have happened, so it is what it is. Davis had a good core here with Jrue Holiday (21-5-8, two steals par game) and Julius Randle (20-9-3, 54.4% FG). They are also missing Rajon Rondo, who provided a lot of stability and leadership last season, which he’s trying to do for the Lakers now.
But here’s where it gets awkward with Davis, whether or not he plays for the Pelicans. They had a home game last night and took Anthony Davis completely out of the intro video. Their star player, the face (unibrow) of the franchise— and now he is suddenly no longer part of the jumbotron hype video that is shown before each game. Now, I’m not sure if petty is the word here, but that is not a classy move by the city of New Orleans, which is obviously still reeling from their significant loss against the Rams.
We’ve seen teams shut down veteran players for long stretches of the season in recent years to promote their younger guys, but to see a superstar like Anthony Davis get shut down is something else. This was a team with playoff aspirations once again coming into the season, and nobody could have foreseen them ending up where they stand right now, the Suns shut down Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe two years ago, while the Lakers “shut down” Luol Deng after ONE GAME last year.
The one good thing that has come from Davis’ wrist injury has been the sudden emergence of Jahlil Okafor, who has turned into a low post weapon and a rebounding machine. He has scored at least 16 points and grabbed at least eight rebounds in the six consecutive starts he has made, showing the impact that he had while with Philadelphia during his rookie season. He is still just 23 years old and has a lot of time to grow into his role as a dominant NBA big man.
So, will the situation with AD have a happy ending, or will he be the greatest healthy player to ever be scratched for a 30-game stretch? Stay tuned for more.