The terrific individual start from Anthony Davis stands in sharp contrast to the New Orleans Pelicans not winning a single time through their first five games this season. If this continues, Davis asking for a trade isn’t too fantastical of a scenario.
Should the Pelicans be in panic mode? Probably. They’re 0-5, and although it’s been without Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, this team just seems behind the rest in the West, without prospects to develop around Anthony Davis to bring immediate success. When you sign someone like Davis for the kind of money he’s getting ($145 million over five seasons), you’re not in rebuilding mode. It’s about succeeding, and the Pelicans thought they were on the right track after making the playoffs in 2015, their first postseason appearance since Chris Paul left to join the Los Angeles Clippers. And the Pelicans don’t look built for success.
The funny thing is they fired Monty Williams, the coach who got them into the postseason, shortly after. They hired Alvin Gentry, offensive genius coming off a championship with the Warriors as an assistant. The man who is supposed to turn Davis into an offensive monster, with 3-pointers and pretty much everything you can imagine. With Davis being this great, the Pelicans should have kept moving forward, and not fall backwards. But a combination of injuries, terrible defense and some poor signings by the front office resulted in a 31-win season last year, and a very weird, unbalanced roster at this point, with Tim Frazier and E’Twaun Moore as key players.
Davis has been putting up huge numbers (until last game, a six point loss to the Grizzlies). He’s averaging 31.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2.4 steals. He has a 31.5 PER. But Davis epitomizes the theory that dominant big men aren’t enough to turn a team into a winner in today’s NBA. DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento is another example. Either way, I doubt he has all the patience and time in the world to see the team try and shape the roster around him while the losses keep piling up.
Maybe things change once Holiday and Evans return, and maybe the Pelicans just need a little bit of luck, and the players they have now, including Lance Stephenson and Buddy Hield can help Davis finally pick up some momentum this season, let alone win a game. However, if this miserable form continues, we’re going to start hearing some frustrated words from Davis about the direction of this team. At some point, and maybe it’s not too far down the line, the words ‘I demand to be traded’ will be heard. And then, probably, it’ll only be a matter of time.