Even after picking up their first win of the season, things look pretty bleak for the New Orleans Pelicans & Anthony Davis moving forward. But at least they gave their depressed superstar something to smile about.
Davis scored 32 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and added 4 blocks as the Pelicans finally won, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 112-106. This is the Pelicans first win after an 0-8 start, and it came without the help of Jrue Holiday or Tyreke Evans. Davis still has to lean on guys like E’Twaun Moore, Tim Frazier and Solomon Hill for help. They’re not bad players; but they’re not anyone’s ideal starting lineup teammates. Not on a team that thinks it can make the playoffs.
But for one game, Davis can just enjoy the moment, which is probably his best-case scenario this season. The Pelicans don’t have a good enough team, from the looks of it right now, to compete in the West. About 18 months since the Pelicans were swept by the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs and the Pelicans fired Monty Williams, hiring Alvin Gentry instead. Things haven’t gone as planned, and it’s not just injuries and bad luck that has kept the Pelicans down.
Talking about trades and the future of the franchise? They’ll leave to when things get back on track, or the wrong track to be more accurate. The Pelicans play four of their next five games at home, so a good run in the next 10 days could actually put them in a position to feel good about themselves. Not just about winning, but going forward. But the more likely scenario is Moore, Frazier and Hill playing closer to their actual level (and not their contracts), which means more frustrating times for one of the best players in the NBA.
Davis is averaging 31 points, 11 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. He has a PER of 31.24. At 23, into his fifth NBA season, he really thought he’d be in a different place. Not as a player, with his team. Maybe the perception that one great player can change a franchise or at least carry it on his back is wrong. Maybe Davis isn’t that good, or perhaps it’s the change in the NBA that makes it difficult for quality big men to carry bad teams, just like DeMarcus Cousins.
The Pelicans are better than their current record, but I’m not sure if by much. Looking across the rest of their conference opponents, it’s hard to say that they even come close to being a top 8 team. Maybe they have the edge of a bonafide superstar who is past the stage of being young and just learning. But maybe the Pelicans made a mistake in how they built this team. Maybe they made a mistake firing Williams and going with Gentry. he more plausible route will be to assume the Pelicans get back to losing pretty soon, and the whimpers about Davis at some point asking for a trade become a lot louder. Unless he has some unbreakable connection to the fans and city, I just don’t see how someone of his caliber can withstand being in such a crappy situation.