The New Orleans Pelicans got lucky in the 2012 NBA Draft, where they had the number one pick and were able to select Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky. Davis has increasingly become one of the best players in the NBA with each season leading up to 2017. He averaged 28 points per game along with 11.8 rebounds, which were career high averages for his career. The Pelicans then made moves during the season last year to acquire DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings, finally giving Davis a needed All Star teammate. But this is now the sixth season Anthony Davis will have played for New Orleans, who will be 25 by the end of the season. The Pelicans must have success during the regular season if they hope to keep Davis in town for good.
Now there are some superstars who choose to stay with on team for their career. Greats like Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant stayed put for years, but they also won championships. Current stars like Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard have also stayed with the organization who drafted them. But in today’s NBA, many players are looking to join forces in order to compete with teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to have a chance of reaching the NBA Finals. While there is always the chance that Davis will follow the paths of Westbrook or Lillard, every NBA athlete is competitive. There is no doubt that Anthony Davis wants his team to not only reach the playoffs each year, but to actually compete.
Anthony Davis has reached the playoffs only once in his five full seasons in New Orleans, where they were swept in the opening round by the Warriors. Davis doesn’t even know what it feels like to win a single playoff game in his career, which I’m sure is something that bothers a player of such talent. Pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins was the best move the organization has made since drafting Davis, as the pair could be one of the most dominant frontcourts in the NBA. With a full offseason of training, the two should have built up the needed chemistry to make this season interesting for the Pelicans. But the Western Conference is filled with talented teams, making their chances for success more difficult.
The problem that the Pelicans face is that the team isn’t very deep. While DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are a dangerous pairing, they’re going to need assistance in the crowded West in order to make the playoffs. More additions midseason may need to be made, as other teams in the conference became even stronger during the offseason. If Anthony Davis fails to reach the playoffs this year, there should be some serious concerns over whether or not he’ll want to leave for a team that has a better shot of competing for a championship. Davis is one of the best players of his generation and his set to reach his prime years of his career. Although he recently signed an extension, with his current deal lasting until 2021 where he’d be an unrestricted free agent, this organization must realize that the time for winning is now. If the team can’t even reach the playoffs, don’t be surprised if Davis requests a trade before his contract expires.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new New Orleans Pelicans article is published, please fill out our email notification form.