Anthony Davis’ latest injury couldn’t be more fitting.
A sprained index finger suffered in Friday night’s demolishing in Portland will sideline the already injury riddled star for a week or two. Davis hurt his pointer finger; now it’s time to point the finger at Davis, Alvin Gentry, the rest of the coaching staff, and the entire Pelican organization as a whole for yet what appears to be another failed season.
Here's the play where Anthony Davis strained his index finger against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pelicans were trailing by 10 points at 119-109 with 3:37 to go in the game. pic.twitter.com/Py026VhGi0— Oleh Kosel (@OlehKosel) January 19, 2019
The rap on Davis is that he’s injury prone and there is some truth to that. Since debuting in 2012, he has missed 87 games over the course of his seven-plus seasons as a professional. But looking through Davis’ injury history, there’s not one major injury that stands out as his have been more of the various nicks and bruises variety. The single most severe injury to date has been a sore left knee that forced him to miss 14 games in the spring of 2016.
Davis hasn’t had a major injury but he’s had so many smaller ones that it’s dizzying in trying to keep up. The Athletic’s Will Guillory tweeted out a running list of ailments Davis has had just this year alone and it includes the following maladies: both elbows, both ankles, his right hip, a shot to the head, his right quad, an illness and now the finger sprain.
Here's my list of all the injuries/ailments that Anthony Davis has dealt with this season pic.twitter.com/tnD5jpGjzr— Will Guillory (@WillGuillory) January 19, 2019
As terrible as it sounds, I’d rather Davis suffer the big one that sidelines him for the year than the various small ones that make me think “okay if the Pelicans just survive, AD will come back and play the hero.” And that’s where I am with this season. I am annoyed, frustrated, apathetic and just over this season. Maybe with this organization as a whole. Maybe with even the entire sport of basketball — I might try and get into soccer now.
Davis is definitely the face of the organization, both good and bad, and the Pelicans seem to follow his lead to a tee. Just as Davis misses a game or two and comes back, the Pelicans too will get a few games under .500, win a game or two to creep back, and then only go on to promptly drop a few more. This pattern isn’t enough to secure placement as a bottom-five team — and have realistic odds at winning the lottery (yet) — nor provide legitimate hope the playoffs are within grasp.
I guess I’m just tired of it all.
I’m tired of the revolving door of players the Pelicans have surrounded a generational talent like Davis with. I’m tired of trading away draft picks, chances to cherry pick and raise homegrown talent, in exchange for whatever the hell consists of a “young veteran” (which is a major oxymoron if you think about it). I’m tired of the short-sighted oversignings for guys like Solomon Hill and Omer Asik, but not ponying up for DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo.
Go back and listen to Mike’s half measure speech to Walt in Breaking Bad’s penultimate season three finale. Mike chose a half measure in sparing the life of an unnamed character instead of going “all the way” and getting rid of him. “I’ll never make that mistake again,” he says. And that’s all the Pelicans are doing, they’re making all these half measure adjustments instead of just embracing the tank that is staring them down. I’m tired of New Orleans delaying the inevitable. Nobody’s raising a banner in the Smoothie King Center because Dell Demps and Rich Paul confirm Davis won’t be moved before the trade deadline.
The Saints are playing for the NFC Championship. The Pelicans just got buried by the team they swept in last year’s postseason. That’s life for New Orleans basketball: clinging to a few fleeting, ultimately meaningless, moments of playoff success (Hey, remember when they took the Spurs to seven games that one time?!) and denying the obvious signs that their franchise player isn’t long for the Crescent City.
Woj says the Pelicans “want to continue to try and improve this team to convince Anthony Davis to stay (in New Orleans).” Cool. I want to do a lot of stuff too, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen, does it?
New Orleans is only four games out of the playoffs and we’re still not to the All-Star break. The Pelicans have 36 games to go and could make up the difference and then some. They could even go 36-0 to close the year — hey, it could happen...in theory, right?!
But New Orleans is also only a game and a half from the sixth best lottery odds. In a season where the competition is so fierce in the West and no one has really yet thrown in the towel, wouldn’t it make the most sense to be a seller when surrounded by so many buyers? Cash in the few assets for draft picks, and if done right, the rebuild would be quick and New Orleans could springboard immediately into their next chapter without any undue suffering.
Sadly, however, we can all predict the future: What will almost definitely happen is Davis will come back, the Pelicans will try to save a season that cannot be salvaged, and they’ll go on to ruin whatever better-looking future lies ahead.
New Orleans’ loss in Portland wasn’t the first time the Pelicans lost a game where Anthony Davis got hurt in the process and it certainly won’t be the last. And with yet another season going down the drain, there’s enough blame to place on everyone. Be it the Pelican players, coaches, front office executives, ownership, everybody deserves to have a sprained finger pointed in their direction.