Davis Carries Weight Of Pelicans’ World

Pelicans’ star recent play keeps New Orleans in thick of playoff race
associated press

 

When center DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon on January 26, many thought the New Orleans Pelicans’ season was over. The team was in position to make the playoffs, but lost five of their next six games. Without their big man, their sky seemed to be falling. But then Anthony Davis, the 24-year-old, 6’11” wunderkind, took on the role of Atlas and stopped the heavens from crashing down.

Davis has the Pelicans on a seven-game win streak, including a 53-point, 18 rebound performance against Phoenix on Monday, in which he has averaged 34.7 points, 12.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 2.3 blocks, and 2.0 steals per game. On the season, he’s averaging 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, all while shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from the three-point line. He’s ranked second in the NBA in scoring, second in blocks, and seventh in rebounds and played his way into MVP contention.

The top eight teams in each conference will make the playoffs. At 35-26 on the season, the Pels are currently in sixth position in the Western Conference. They are only a game back of the third ranked Minnesota Timberwolves (38-27), but just 2.5 games from falling out of playoff contention. The Houston Rockets (48-13) and Golden State Warriors (48-14) dominate the West and have an 11.5 game lead on the rest of the conference, but six teams are within three games of the Timberwolves’ third spot. With 21 games over the next six weeks, there will be a lot of jostling for postseason position. If the Pels can finish in the top four, they’ll be guaranteed home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. But with the race as tight as it is, New Orleans could slide of contention.

The Pelicans haven’t been to the playoffs since 2015, and in his five professional seasons, Davis has not won a playoff game.

The Pels will go as far as Davis can take them. But for them to receive a playoff seed in the top half of the conference, he’ll need help from his supporting cast, including guards Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, and E'Twaun Moore, and the thoughtful guidance and leadership of head coach Alvin Gentry.

 Many believe Davis, the former top overall draft pick, hasn’t yet reached his full potential. The five-time All-Star turns 25 on March 11, and if he continues to light up the NBA like a birthday cake the Pelicans should be in prime playoff position.

 

NBA Western Conference Standings

The top eight teams in each conference make the playoffs.                                        

 

Rank    Team                                   W     L      PCT    GB

1            Houston Rockets               48   13     0.787   –

2            Golden State Warriors       48   14     0.774   0.5

3            Minnesota Timberwolves   38   27     0.585   12

4            Portland Trail Blazers         36   26     0.581   12.5

5            San Antonio Spurs             36   26     0.581   12.5

6            New Orleans Pelicans      35   26     0.574   13

7            Oklahoma City Thunder     36   27     0.571   13

8            Denver Nuggets                 33   28     0.541   15

9            LA Clippers                        32   28     0.533   15.5

10          Utah Jazz                           31   30     0.508   17

11          Los Angeles Lakers           27   34     0.443   21

12          Sacramento Kings             19   43     0.306   29.5

13          Dallas Mavericks               19   43     0.306   29.5

14          Phoenix Suns                    19   44     0.302   30

15          Memphis Grizzlies            18   42     0.3       29.5

 

 

 

Categories: The Pennant Chase