At the start of the 2016-2017 NBA season, there were many changes to the player base that changed the landscape of the league. The Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant, is retired for good, the Warriors are once again the team to beat with the addition of Kevin Durant, and despite coming off of an NBA title win, LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing hungrier than ever. We’re seeing a shift in the talent of the NBA, where the young stunners of the past are now seasoned veterans, and the rising stars are fresher faces than ever. One of those greatest young bloods? University of Kentucky alumni and 2012 #1 draft pick, Anthony Davis. Many minds deeply enthralled in basketball would say Davis is easily one of the most dominant centers in the NBA right now and has only progressively been getting better since his rookie season. For the past 3 seasons, Davis has averaged a double-double per game and has been the rock of his team, the New Orleans Pelicans. This season, the young giant is putting up 30 points a game, double-digit rebounds against a barrage of triple teams, and scrappy in-the-paint defense techniques. Not to mention, he managed to muster up 50 point games at the beginning of the season; something only previously done by Michael Jordan. But now 8 games into the new season, the Pelicans are still 0-8. So the question is: why?
Besides not winning a single one, the details of the first 8 games for the Pelicans have indeed been painful. Two of those defeats came in overtime, and another two against a stellar Spurs and Warriors team. Naturally, the argument immediately jumps to a lack of outside help for Davis. While Davis may very well be a once in a lifetime star, basketball is still a team sport, and Davis not having another set of helpful hands on the court is certainly a pain to the Pelicans’ resolve. But is there more to the trainwreck of a season start? Some can safely assume that the methods used by Pelicans head coach, Alvin Gentry, to try to win games is something especially beatable. Besides making the one-man Davis the work horse of the offense, Gantry has truly failed to muster up defensive hustle out of the other less talented players on this lineup. When Anthony has zero help on the offensive side of the ball, beating a team that’s also able to put up 100 or more on your squad becomes a battle that is especially unwinnable. How do you feel about the New Orleans Pelicans, Anthony Davis, and their future together? Should Davis demand a trade at some point this season? And the big question is, what happens to the face of the league once Davis is on a team that can win games? Check out Davis’s top 10 plays below, and make sure to tune in to the Pelicans face off against the Bucks tonight to see if they can finally get their first win.