The New Orleans Pelicans have had a history of great players leading struggling teams. Back when they were still the Hornets, point guard Baron Davis was a fan favorite, but could never get his team past the second round. It was the same case for Chris Paul, who is still considered one of the best point guards in the league. Though he had a pick and roll partner in Tyson Chandler and multiple seasons as an MVP candidate, he was also stymied by better teams, as he has never made it out of the second round either. After all their struggles, New Orleans thought it had hit the jackpot with superstar Anthony Davis, but the Pelicans remain grounded.
Coming out of the University of Kentucky, Anthony Davis was heralded as the next Kevin Garnett, and for good reason. He has met, if not exceeded, those expectations so far. However, what some people forget is that Garnett spent the first half of his career as a world-class talent on a Timberwolves team that could never quite turn that into playoff success. Davis looks to tell the same story. Though a small sample size, the Pelicans have started off the season winless through three games while Davis has averaged a ridiculous 37.7 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game.
To say this team will immediately tank would be a little hyperbolic. They’re missing their starting backcourt in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans, and Davis’ sheer talent will earn them enough wins to retain some of their dignity. However, there is one crucial that the Pelicans have to work through. Davis desperately needs help on offense. Guards E’Twuan Moore and Tim Frazier have provided the most support for the Brow, but a supporting cast of only Moore and Frazier is not going to get any team far.
For the Pelicans to at least snatch a playoff berth in the cutthroat Western Conference, their supporting cast is going to have to step up. Rookie Buddy Hield, who has started out slow with 14 points through three games, needs to take advantage of his opportunities and prove he can be a scorer off the bench for New Orleans. In addition, high risk, high reward players like Lance Stephenson, Solomon Hill and Terrence Jones need to play to their potential and fill in the gaps the ‘Brow can’t. Throw in a mid-season trade for more talent and, at the very least, the Pelicans will not go down without a fight.
If the whole team can produce, the Pelicans will not only have a better chance of winning close games down the stretch, but consistent contributions from everyone will keep the team moving even when Davis isn’t having the best of nights. Again, despite the small sample size and Davis’ ridiculous numbers, the Pelicans have bottomed out at 29th in the league in offensive rating as well as 18th in defensive rating. Though having a team defense is important, the Pelicans’ offense is where help is painfully needed.
When it comes down to it, this could be yet another elite season from Anthony Davis that will be wasted due to the team’s inability to support him. The Brow will undoubtedly experience playoff success; it’s up to New Orleans if they want to be the team Davis makes it big with.