The 2013 season was finally beginning to turn around for the New Orleans Pelicans when power forward Anthony Davis was diagnosed with a fractured hand. Davis hurt his hand while trying to finish an alley-oop on Sunday against the New York Knicks and, to put it bluntly, his indefinite absence is going to sting a whole lot.
The Pelicans (9-8) have won six of their last eight games, but only one has been played thus far without Davis and it took triple overtime to beat the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls. New Orleans had been looking like a team that was starting to come around and play very good basketball for the most part. I had them pegged as a team that could battle it out for possibly a 7th or 8th seed when it is all said and done, but right now they will have to stay afloat without arguably their best player.
Davis was amidst by far his best year as a pro prior to getting hurt. Obviously, that’s based solely on his rookie campaign a year ago. But, in any event, Davis had greatly improved his game in just one year alone. Compared to 2012, Davis was averaging 5.3 more points (18.8), 2.0 more rebounds (10.2), 0.4 more steals (1.6) and had doubled his blocks per game (3.6).
One of the biggest things Davis brings to the Pelicans is his ability to score in a variety of ways. As I’ve said before, Davis worked on his jump shot and post play throughout the summer and it had begun to show tremendously. He was becoming a much more versatile big man, being able to knock down jumpers and work his way into the post, able to finish with a full arsenal of moves.
From here on out, New Orleans won’t be able to substitute for Davis’ play while he’s out, but they are going to have to find a way to win games still. How they’re going to do it, I am not sure at this point. Davis meant an indescribable amount to this team and was second in the entire league to only LeBron James with a PER of 28.35. At the moment, there hasn’t been an official timetable set for his return, but be sure to keep checking back with us as we’ll get the word out when we hear something.