Anthony Davis Pelicans

Anthony Davis Pelicans

It's time to hold Anthony Davis accountable like other NBA superstars

Seth Dunlap
April 01, 2018 - 9:03 pm

Here we are on a fine Easter Sunday evening lamenting about yet another Pelicans loss, this time a 109-104 defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Smoothie King Center.

It was arguably the Pelicans biggest game of the season, just slightly bigger than their games against Cleveland and Portland earlier in the week and maybe a neck above their battle last Saturday against Houston.  The big stage of playoff conention and battles for seeding in the Western Conference quickly turned into a recurring nightmare of losses for New Orleans -- four of them in quick succession that has sent this team the precipice of disaster. 

No longer should anybody be talking about a top four seed and possible home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.  Rather, we all now wait and see if this free fall continues and the Pelicans once again find themselves sitting and watching the playoffs from home.

Lost amongst all the local hand wringing over these losses is any accountability by the most obvious culprit -- a superstar who disappeared on the court while seemignly being more focused on a paid publicity stunt off of it.  

Anthony Davis is an immense talent, an incredibly gifted athlete and player.  Davis is also the most coddled and accountability-free superstar in the NBA.   That combination is starting to rear its ugly head.

Let's start off the court where Davis, who is having an MVP-caliber season, decided that it would be a good time to team up with Red Bull for a paid April Fools gag over his eyebrows.  It was a nice set up, with Davis polling his Twitter followers on whether or not he should shave off his world-famous 'Brow'.  


With the "yup" votes victorious Davis then posted a video of him supposedly shaving the eyebrows.  Unsurprisingly there's a very visible Red Bull towell over his shoulder.   


On to Act 3.  


The pay off was, as expected, an April Fools prank.  Also as expected the whole charade was sponsored by Red Bull, as Davis let us know with the very visitble tag at the end of his Tweet.

Cute stuff.  There was also an actual playoff race that the Pelicans were smack dab in the middle of. 

Against Cleveland on Friday, again probably their biggest game of the season to that point, Davis was nearly a complete non-factor..  He shot 6/19 from the floor, grabbed 8 rebounds, and scored 16 points.  

In a redux on Easter Sunday we saw Davis scoring just 18 points in the first 45 minutes of the game against Oklahoma City, a full 10 points below his season average, before the Thunder had the game well in hand.   Davis would score seven garbage time points in the final three minutes before the final horn sounded. He then put his arms to his head and with a genuinely pained look on his face headed straight to the locker room.

Another loss.  Another missed opportunity.  Just another game like we've seen so many times before in the Anthony Davis Era for the Pelicans. 

Look, I'm no Scrooge.  I love athletes with personality, and individuality.  We don't live in the buttoned up sports world of the 1970's and 80's, and thank goodness for that.  Give me Davis' self depricating humor about his unibrow.  Show me more of Antiono Brown on "Dancing with the Stars."   I can't get enough of Drew Brees sharing loving moments of his family and children with the world.  Thank goodness the NFL has finally realized touchdown celebrations are a good thing for their sport.  

I love this 2018 version of American professional sports.  I don't fawn over the 'good ole days'.   Give me modern athletes with flair, personality, and social awareness.  I certainly don't want them to just "shut up and dribble".

However, I've completely had it with the coddling of Anthony Davis by some Pelicans fans and some in the local media.

It's one thing to try to be understanding when Davis is continually missing games in his young career with a wide range of nicks, bruises, and injuries.  It's a little bothersome when the guy you drafted #1 overall, and expect to be the superstar that leads your franchise out of irrelevance, is missing more games in his firs five years than LeBron or Kevin Durant have in their entire careers.   Bothersome, but understandable.  

The grumbling you'd hear among fans or in the media was swiftly dismissed as insensitive nonsense.  Perhaps rightfully so.

That has led us to a point where almost nobody locally is willing to criticize Anthony Davis on or off the court.  He's always the budding superstar with so much potential, and look he's still in New Orleans!  Who else wants to come to New Orleans?  We should all feel so lucky that we get to watch Anthony Davis in his prime!  Let's just cross our fingers and hope he stays here forever because he loves us and this city so much!

Let's get real here.  Can you imagine if some of the other NBA stars had the week Davis just did?  

If LeBron James was doing paid social media pranks all while the Cavaliers were free falling out of the playoffs it would be a national emergency.    If it was Kevin Durant you would have the hate media lining up from coast to coast to call him a selfish me-first guy that is finally getting he due comeuppance.  If it was Russell Westbrook -- well my mind can't even comprehend what would likely ensue.

So why is Anthony Davis getting a pass here.  Why is he still being coddled?  Rarely has a superstar escaped as accountability-free as Davis has during his entire career. 

It was Monty Williams' fault before it was Alvin Gentry's.   Eric Gordon wasn't good enough, neither was Tyreke Evans or Ryan Anderson.  Now the blame falls on Jrue Holliday, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic or Darius Miller.  Or maybe it's because of Dell Demps, Mikey Loomis, or the ownership.  

That needs to stop now.  If we are going to have a rational, legitimate conversation about our NBA franchise it must start with the player everything revoles around.

It's time for fans, us in the media, and the Pelicans organization to hold Anthony Davis accountable for at least some of the struggles this franchise had had during his career in New Orleans.


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