Before flying into the cold state of Minnesota yesterday, the New Orleans Pelicans were riding on a three game win streak. After the Timberwolves got the best of the Pelicans that streak was dead.
Anthony Davis has been playing top caliber basketball this season. The Pelicans are playing great basketball and winning the close games. Although, everyone that watched the Timberwolves beat the Pelicans 88-77 last night realized a flaw about the Pelicans.
The Pelicans have a lot of money being dished out to a few players on their roster. The big bucks mean you have to produce at a high level, correct? Well yes of course, but for some reason the players receiving the big bucks aren’t getting the job done.
Anthony Davis wasn’t able to play in this game against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, because of a finger injury. I figured this game should’ve been a good test for the Pelicans bench with the absent of Davis. After the finished watching the game, I came to realize that the Pelicans are irrelevant without Anthony Davis.
Now yes, Davis is a huge part of their offense and without him in the game this team is going to struggle. Although, the Pelicans have two other big name players, Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans who can play some good ball. Clearly Gordon and Evans can’t play basketball when Davis isn’t around to play with them.
In the game against the Timberwolves, Gordon finished 5-17 from the floor in 35 minutes with 14 points. Evans finished 4-15 from the floor in 24 minutes with 11 points. The two of them combined to make 1 three pointer out of 8 tries and the Pelicans didn’t shoot much better as a team from the behind the three point line either. The team took 21 three pointers and finished the game with only 2 makes. Instead of getting your calculator out I’ll help you figure out that percent from long range, it’s 9.5%.
These two players are shooting the ball a lot, but the Pelicans are limited scoring the ball wise. If two players are going to take about 1/3 of the teams shots, than they need to be making them not thinking about them going in.
Seems like these two players are just going with the flow and that’s not good, because the flow of the Pelicans isn’t in the right state at the moment. The team has a record of 19-26, sitting in the 12 spot in the West and on the verge of slipping down even farther.
The Pelicans are averaging just over 100 points a game and against the Timberwolves they scored a disappointing 77 points.
Now I’ m not blaming Davis for all of this unspeakable play. And I’m especially not blaming him for his lack of scoring. I’m just disappointed that he didn’t play against the Timberwolves. Some would think from a players perspective that if your team was on a winning streak that you would want to be out on the court trying to help them continue the streak. If a player can’t physically play I understand that. The Pelicans just aren’t the same team without Davis in the lineup.
Davis brings energy to the team, with his nasty slams and his vicious blocks. The Pelicans players feed off of Davis’s play. He is the team’s leader out on the court. I know that’s hard to believe considering he has only been in the league for less then two years, but he’s a great leader. He isn’t the type of leader that is going to get in your face or be screaming from the sidelines, because he leads by example. He lets his play do his talking.
At the end of the day the Pelicans need Anthony Davis’s scoring ability to get wins. He has the mojo that puts positive thoughts into this team. The Pelicans need to bring in more scoring options and get rid of what they thought were scoring options. Davis is going to get nicked up in this long season and if the Pelicans can’t find anyone else to carry the workload when he is out, this season could go downhill fast.