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Anthony Davis is the most dominant player to ever play for an NBA team starting as poorly as the Pelicans

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New Orleans All-Star is the best of the best among those who found themselves on the worst of the worst to start a season with an 0-8 record.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans are in danger of entering some uncharted and very much unwanted territory this Thursday against the Milwaukee Bucks. If they lose, they will set a new franchise-record for losses to start the year, surpassing the 8-game winless stretch by the 2004-05 squad.

However, there is an important distinction to make between the two squads. One was led by Lee Nailon and his 14.2 points per game. The other, as you know, has Anthony Davis, the destroyer of worlds. Despite averages of 30.9 PTS, 11.4 REB and 3.0 BLK, the current New Orleans team is in serious jeopardy of finding itself at the bottom of the history books in less than 48 hours time.

By continually dragging his name through the mud, the Pelicans have put Davis in some rather interesting company. Among all the teams who have started 0-8 since the 1963-64 season, Anthony Davis sits unquestionably the best performer on a list populated by players who had once totaled the most points scored in the NBA for winless teams.


Season Points Per Game PER WS/48
Anthony Davis 2016-17 30.9 32.0 .257
Bob Boozer 1967-68 24.5 18.6 .170
Fred Carter 1972-73 23.6 15.2 .020
Geoff Petrie 1972-73 22.6 17.1 .081
Patrick Ewing 1985-86 22.3 17.4 .084
Pau Gasol 2002-03 21.1 20.7 .138
Jahlil Okafor 2015-16 20.6 17.1 .037
Tony Wroten 2014-15 20.5 14.9 .014
Wayman Tisdale 1988-89 20.5 17.8 .120
Kevin Durant 2007-08 20.3 15.8 .040

The scoring averages are through the the first 8 games of the season in question, but the PER and win shares per 48 minutes are for their entirety.

Anthony Davis clearly stands at the head of this very unfortunate class and it’s not just because of his prolific scoring output. The two accompanying advanced stats go to show just how productive Davis has been in other facets of the game, yet all of his additional efforts in say rebounding and defending have failed to make a dent in the Pelicans win column.

No other player has done so much on the court yet remained winless through 8 games. It is important to note that Kevin Durant and Patrick Ewing were in their rookie seasons and Pau Gasol in his sophomore campaign. Davis is in his fifth season and the Pelicans’ outlook couldn’t be any cloudier.

Most worrisome of all, we’re not talking about the most insignificant sample sizes anymore — nearly 10% of the schedule has been played — and the Pelicans surrounding Davis continue to collectively underperform. Did Dell Demps sign a bunch of role players that just aren’t very good? Is Alvin Gentry and the rest of the coaching staff in over their heads?

With each passing loss, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the questions that echo Davis is stuck on a very bad Pelicans team. At some point, fingers must be pointed because no way in hell was the Process supposed to drag an MVP candidate this consistently through waist-high deep muck.