Anthony Davis started at power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night for their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, more or less because he’s their best player. However, it was the supporting cast around him that was truly eye-popping in the worst possible way.
Flanking Davis in the starting lineup and off of the bench was a collection of NBA journeymen, young guys still looking to find success, guys who might not be in the league next year, and mediocre role players. Somehow, though, Davis still had the Pelicans in the game in the closing moments.
New Orleans eventually fell to Memphis by a score of 90-88 on a Mike Conley game-winner, but no player was more impressive than Davis. In 39 minutes of action, the second-year forward put up 29 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal and four blocks while shooting 9-14 from the floor, 11-11 from the foul line and committing only one turnover.
Davis was carrying this team on Tuesday night on both ends of the floor out of shear necessity. Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon were out with illnesses, adding to their sporadic yet high number of missed games this season. Moreover, the team is still without Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith due to injuries at well.
Honestly, you have to look at Davis right now and feel terrible for him. This is a guy who just turned 21 years old on Tuesday and is carrying his team with phenomenal play from a second-year player in this league, but can’t find any measure of team success because of the bad breaks that they’ve been dealt time and again this season.
Don’t get me wrong, you should marvel at how well Davis has been playing. He’s a star already in this league, shattering any timetable for development that many people had for him. However, when you look at games like the one on Wednesday when he’s doing everything in his power to succeed and still comes away with a loss, it’s hard not to pity him even just a little.