In an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN over All-Star weekend, Anthony Davis revealed a number of newsworthy things.
- Davis believes that the New Orleans Pelicans could have reached the 2018 NBA Finals with a healthy DeMarcus Cousins in tow.
- That an enormous burden is back on AD’s shoulders again following Cousins’ Achilles injury, with him needing to score in the neighborhood of 40 points for the Pelicans to have a chance at victory.
- That Davis has decided to take a Russell Westbrook mentality to keep the Pelicans in the playoff picture.
- That Davis will not be happy with just making the playoffs because he accomplished the feat once before and the fact matters to no one.
And supposedly the biggest bombshell:
- That Davis wonders if he’s traveling down the same path as say Kevin Garnett, who wound up regretting a decision of not asking for a trade sooner to a more competitive franchise.
Is this response some brand new piece of information, something that was unforeseeable beforehand? No, not even close, but first, pay close attention to the video starting right after the 2:00 minute mark.
Did you catch that? Anthony Davis wasn’t asked an open-ended question about his future with the Pelicans, but rather it appeared to be a specific inquiry by Nichols involving Kevin Garnett’s dismay about not seeking to find a way onto a more competitive team earlier in his career. Davis, of course, had little choice but to answer the question as he did because winning is very important to him.
“It makes you think, ‘cause you’re wondering if you’re following in that same path,” he said. “But then again, you’re like, ‘This year could be the year.’ So, just got to take it year by year and just see, and see where the team is going, what direction they want to go to and just see where their head is.”
Did you notice him switch gears immediately back to this season — he hasn’t remotely given up — and then place the emphasis on the direction of the team moving forward?
Minutes earlier, Davis had mentioned championship aspirations, and he stated he thinks a lot about those ‘what if’ questions had Boogie not gotten hurt. Davis obviously feels something special was brewing in New Orleans. Currently, he’s just seeking to make sure the Pelicans don’t deviate from the blueprint of success. That plan? DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis — keeping the two best bigs in the game together.
Cousins will be a free agent this summer. Prior to his injury, the Pelicans were reportedly going to offer him a maximum five-year contract, but no one is certain of the path now. Cousins has months and months of rehabilitation ahead and it’s unknown how problem-free the recovery will be or how much of future salary caps the Pelicans are willing to gamble away in order to retain a player that is more likely than not to return diminished in some capacity.
Davis hasn’t given up a #DoItBig future, but smartly, he is aware of the possibility it may not continue, whether due to unfortunate setbacks in recovery or monetary contract issues. Also, there’s a chance Cousins won’t return to his top form — whatever that level may be — until the 2019-20 season. That could make for a very long 107 upcoming regular season games for Davis. (25 remaining games this season and then 82 in 2018-19.)
Even if the Pelicans retain Cousins, Davis hopes the organization will not rest on their laurels. More Nikola Mirotic type of additions to the roster would be most welcome because the clock is ticking and next season matters just as much as any other to Davis, too.
Following the Pelicans last trip to the playoffs, Davis talked about winning multiple rings during the 2015 preseason.
“Winning kind of — I don’t want to say it defines greatness, but it’s, like, 80 percent of it,” Davis said. “At the end of the day, I want to win a ring — multiple rings — and I think that helps you if they do have a debate whether you’re great or not.”
Two and a half years later, nothing’s changed: Anthony Davis still wants a realistic chance to win multiple rings, and here in New Orleans that in all likelihood includes alongside DeMarcus Cousins and the strongest possible supporting cast. If not, Plan B better be even more foolproof, otherwise, Davis will soon seek out his desired guarantee elsewhere.