There comes a time where young superstars have to eventually decide their future. Normally, there are two options for transcendent talents who find themselves on the court with a bunch of JV players. Behind door A, you come off as a diva who hates his situation and demands a change of scenery while completely f-cking over the franchise who drafted you. Behind door B, you slum it on an awful team year after year for the sake of being labeled “loyal” like you’re a Boy Scout while they mismanage everything around you and you waste your prime doing nothing. If the New Orleans Pelicans want to build a third door for Anthony Davis to choose from, this is the last shot they have.
Nobody likes wasted talent. Whether you’re a casual fan of the NBA, a diehard of a specific team, or the player who is being wasted away in a sea of mediocrity, it’s just a scenario no one enjoys, but one plenty of players live in. That is currently the situation brewing in New Orleans. They posses Anthony Davis, one of the best players in the league, and have had absolutely no success while he’s been on the team. During his short five year career, Davis has made the All Star team four times, the All NBA First Team twice, and has seen the franchise change team names more times than he’s seen a playoff win.
Whether he’s been a Hornet or a Pelican, Davis has been a loser. Now that he’s officially tired of it, that should be seen as a gigantic warning to the entire organization.
“Anthony Davis says the New Orleans Pelicans are “tired of losing” and have the roster to do something about it.”
That’s where the problem is. If this isn’t the roster that actually can do something about it, the Pelicans are in trouble.
It’s not the immediate kind of trouble with their superstar other teams are dealing with, but it’s simply a sign of things to come. There’s always a point where teams have the window to turn it around before a star gets pissed off and wants to head elsewhere. This is that current window in New Orleans.
The only reason why it’s considered a window at all is because of the arrival of DeMarcus Cousins. Despite getting off to a rocky start during their time together last season, the hope is to have the best frontcourt in basketball now that they’ve had an entire offseason to train with one another.
— theScore (@theScore) July 25, 2017
No matter how many times Davis says the idea is great on paper, they play on a basketball court. Specifically, the same court the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, Jazz, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers, and Nuggets play on in the loaded Western Conference. The carnage that’s bound to happen in the West will make Dunkirk look like a middle school play, and it’s tough to tell if they Pelicans roster can handle all the firepower.
Sure, Cousins and Davis have the chance to be the best front court since Tim Duncan and David Robinson, but they don’t exactly have Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili surrounding them like the Spurs did. They have players like Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, and Rajon Rondo. If you think that’s a starting five that can compete in the West, then you haven’t been paying attention. Other than pairing Davis with Cousins, the Pelicans have squandered each and every opportunity to pair Davis with young talent in order to give him more wings who fail to produce like Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Eric Gordon.
Seriously, the starting lineup in 2014-2015 that appeared in the most games was Omer Asik, Davis, Evans, Gordon, and Quincy fuckin Pondexter. The following year it was the exact same except Alonzo Gee played over Pondexter. You’d think they would figure out you need actual NBA talent to pair around Davis the following year? Nope. They surrounded him with Dante Cunningham, Holiday, Solomon Hill, and Buddy Hield before trading for Cousins. What in the world makes you think this team is competent enough to finally give him players he can actually win with?
Luckily for New Orleans, Anthony Davis seems content with being a loyal loser. At least, for now.
— NBA on ESPN Radio (@NBAonESPNRadio) February 19, 2017
Sure, Davis took a page out of the Russell Wilson handbook of saying the right thing considering he isn’t a free agent until 2021. Let’s move on to the very realistic future of Cousins leaving after this offseason when he’s an unrestricted free agent after the Pelicans fail to reach .500. That puts Davis in the situation where he couldn’t win with the one capable player the team tried to pair him with, and back to the same exact roster that at best finished with 45 wins.
He would still have three more years under contract, but that would be the true end to pairing Davis with a player good enough to compete in the Western Conference. The Pelicans would have to construct a winning team out of their draft picks and the merry band of mediocre players that flood the roster. It sounds like an impossible task, because it’s an impossible task.
Cousins and Davis alone isn’t enough to make the proper amount of noise in the Western Conference, so they need big years out of role players like Rondo and Holiday, a task that doesn’t seem extremely likely. Or, they need an offensive scheme that highlights the two monsters they have in order to keep the core together next year. Realistically, Davis’ future revolves around Cousins. If his fellow big man and Kentucky alum does leave, there’s no chance another star would come play for the Pelicans. It would just leave Davis alone, with the two-door option looming in the distance.
If you’re the Pelicans and want to take Davis for his word, then go nuts. Continue to run the team into the ground by trading away draft picks, knowing in full confidence that your superstar is destined to lose for the rest of his career. But if you really don’t think bolting looks more and more attractive after another losing season, then you haven’t looked at what’s been happening around the league. It’s time to win, before Anthony Davis finds a new home.