All-Star Weekend Wrap Up

Christian Petersen

Turns out, New Orleans can throw a party. Who knew?

New Orleans has a history of throwing a big party. People in other NBA cities (especially other small markets) pointed out that their city has not hosted the NBA All-Star Game in X years while New Orleans has received the honor twice in the last six.

Newsflash, New Orleans does this a lot. The city has hosted the Super Bowl ten times (tied with Miami for most); going at most 11 years (2002-2013) between opportunities. In addition to hosting the Sugar Bowl (the second oldest bowl in college football) since 1935, New Orleans has also hosted the NCAA Men's Final Four five different times (Only Kansas City, Louisville, and Indianapolis have hosted more) and the NCAA Women's Final Four three different times. On top of that, the city will host Wrestlemania 30 this April. This is expected to continue in the near future so get used to the biggest sporting events being hosted here internet, if somehow the previous 30 years were not a sufficient prelude.

Anthony Davis

Davis competed in two events this weekend; the Rising Stars Challenge and the All-Star Game itself. First on Friday, he racked up 16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. His block of Jonas Valanciunas then dunk was his personal highlight. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dion Waiters took over the game (and all opportunities to actually touch a basketball) in the second half. In a setup built for wings to chuck the ball, Davis still clocked in an impressive performance. However, it was Andre Drummond who pulled in the MVP, by standing near the basket and being the biggest body on the floor. This is not much different from his typical role for Detroit, but in a game with tons of misses Drummond's ability and desire to corral rebounds combined with the lack of drive to box him out had predictable results. But seriously, this highlight is ridiculous.

In the All-Star Game, Davis hardly saw the court, logging only 9:35 according to NBA.com's box score. Only Damian Lillard (8:44) and Dirk Nowitski (8:26) logged less time. The limited minutes could be explained by the depth of the Western Conference front line (Griffin, Love, Howard, and Aldridge) or by poor coaching from Scott Brooks (#HOTTAKE). More likely, AD's place on the totem pole and the coach's desire to stick to what the fans wanted (this game is ultimately about the fans, not just those in the building, but all those who voted) led to his limited run on the court.

Despite his limited time, Anthony Davis was a solid contributor. I would only grade Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin as better big men in this format right now, and that is likely to change as Davis's star grows. Andrew Tobolowsky of Mavs Moneyball had an interesting reaction I agree with:

Davis is likely to become a superstar, this much I find little disagreement throughout the internet. Importantly for the Pelicans, he also has the athleticism and style on the court to draw oohs and ahhs not only in the games that matter, but less competitive showcases such as the All-Star Game or early round Olympic games. This is a stark contrast to excellent NBA players such as Nowitzki or Duncan whose talent has been diminished in "analysis" because their game somehow does not translate well to such showcases, earning the dreaded "boring" title. Dreaded not by the players themselves, but fan bases who then must defend "their" player against such a lazy #narrative.

Coming Up

The Pelicans will play the New York Knicks on Wednesday at 7 pm in the Smoothie King Center. In a bit of scheduling luck, the Knicks have to play the well-rested Memphis Grizzlies (last game played on Wednesday the 12th, no Memphis players competed on All-Star Weekend) in the Grindhouse on Tuesday before traveling back to New Orleans. Marc Gasol might be available for Memphis.

Jrue Holiday has now missed nearly six weeks with his stress fracture, an injury according to some reports he hoped to sideline him for only a month. Stress fractures are a particularly difficult injury to get a timetable on. Some heal quickly while others, like Javale McGee's injury, can take significantly longer. I doubt Holiday will be back by Wednesday, as it is reasonable to expect some information about him returning to practice and/or conditioning well before his return to competition.

The Pelicans come out of the All-Star Break with a record of 23-29, six games under .500. Currently they would send the 11th pick to Philadelphia. According to Draft Express, this is likely to be in the Gary Harris to Doug McDermott range. It is important to remember that should the long odds break in the Pelicans' favor and they end up with a top three pick, they would not convey that pick to the 76ers. The top five protection never ends, if somehow the Pelicans end up in the top five every year through 2019 Philadelphia will receive two second round picks.

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