I wanna give Anthony Davis a hug.
Through the first two games of the 2016-17 NBA Season, Anthony Davis has been the league’s best player. Davis is averaging 47.5 points, 16.5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks and 4.5 steals and has reminded all those who doubted him last season just who the league’s next great big man is. It’s not Karl-Anthony Towns, it’s not Joel Embiid, it’s not Kristaps Porzingis, it’s still Anthony Davis.
But these astronomical numbers Davis is putting up has been all for naught because the Pelicans found themselves to be the losing team yet again, this time to the souped up Golden State Warriors. The Warriors may not yet be the fully operational Death Star we expect they will be, but tonight the Pelicans served as Golden State’s Alderaan.
The Warriors are like a hydra: you cut off one head, then two more take it’s place. Draymond Green had eight points and Steph Curry had maybe the quietest 23-point performance of his career, but it didn’t matter because the Warriors have Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant... and you don’t. Thompson had 28 points and Durant dropped in 30 plus 17 rebounds — all of them of the defensive variety.
The Warriors bench was hardly a force to be reckoned with tonight, Andre Iguodala had a bench-high nine points, but when you have four of the league’s 15 best players, having a productive bench feels almost like overkill. Once this team really figures it out, look out.
Now back to the issue at hand: the hapless Pelicans. First I’m going to give this team credit, they hung in there, missing three of their better rotation players, and gave Golden State all they wanted tonight in the Smoothie King Center. Davis didn’t quite reach 50 like Tuesday night, but he got almost enough help from his teammates tonight.
Tim Frazier overcame a slow start to finish with 21 points and 10 assists, his second double-double of the year; Dante Cunningham sort of went off tonight with 15 points and converted on three of his six three-point shots; and for the second game in a row Lance Stephenson continued to reward New Orleans for taking a chance on him with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
One thing that troubles me about this Pelican team is their lack of three-point shooting. Tonight New Orleans hit 5-22 threes; against Denver they went 3-19. Total, that’s eight threes made on 41 attempts for a sub-20 percent shooting percentage. When’s that number improving? Will it? Quincy Pondexter and Jrue Holiday’s returns should help that figure; and you’ve gotta assume the light will come on for Buddy Hield and E’Twaun Moore, eventually. But, other than that I don’t see anyone on this roster that can be counted on to provide reliable shooting from the perimeter.
The good news is the Pelicans have been playing fairly well to start the season, even if it hasn’t translated to wins. It may not look it, but I think they’ve made some slight improvements defensively. And New Orleans has been feisty if nothing else to start the year. They gave the most talented team in the league all they wanted for 48 minutes tonight so I’m expecting wins to soon follow if they continue to play with that kind of effort.
And they’ve got that Anthony Davis guy. You got a guy like this you’ve always got a chance.