Game On: Pelicans @ Cavaliers

Published: January 28, 2014

The Pelicans are in that precarious no mans land which NBA fans hate to see. Playoff, at least in the Western Conference, is a tremendous long shot—especially with the injuries New Orleans must still overcome. A bottom (top?) five pick might be even harder to attain given that the schedule eases up some and Jrue Holiday expected to return from injury. Plus, some other NBA teams are really, really bad.

So, what is there left to look forward to in the season? Where should the team’s priorities lay? What’s important?

I think you know. You should know. You do know, right?

Anthony Davis.

Ok, good.

Did you see his game on Sunday against Orlando? It’s not that we should be surprised. I mean we all know this was something he is capable of, but still…22 points, 19 rebounds, 7 blocks. All from guy who can’t legally drink alcohol. There is a reason writers/anchors/everyone was fawning over him. Take a moment and wax rhapsodic if you want; we’re all willing to listen because it was that impressive, even though we’ve heard it all before. Put the dude in the All-Star game already.

Tonight the Pelicans take on the Cleveland Cavaliers and everyone is hoping for another nova performance from Davis. He’ll have his chances to shine tonight.

The Cavs take the majority of their shots from mid-range. They also get a lot of their shots blocked. Against the Magic, Davis was a beast on the perimeter. Tonight he has a chance to show he’s a terror defensively anywhere on the court. In college Davis was allowed to roam and swat shots at will. He won’t have that freedom tonight but with his athleticism and long arms he has a chance to swipe a few mid-range jumpers away.

Davis might not come close to twenty rebounds tonight as Cleveland ranks in the top ten of both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. But elite rebounders grab boards against any team (Kevin Love). Davis has been great cleaning up misses all year long grabbing ten or more rebounds in over half of the games he’s played. But he needs to show a slight bit more consistency. Avoiding those 6 or 8 rebound games will go a long way towards establishing him as a top 10 player in the league.

Offensively this is pretty simple: More Davis pick and rolls. Davis score 1.13 points per possession as the pick and roll man. That’s good for 6th in the league. As a team a Pelicans’ possession ends in the pick and roll 25.1% of the time according to, but on 7.3% of that ends with the roll man. When Anthony Davis is on your team that is unacceptable. That Monstar slam over Glen Davis? That came on a Brian Roberts/Davis pick and roll. I might pull my hair out if I see Roberts pull up from mid-range over passing to Davis.

I get it to some degree. This team has three guards who can attack and get to the rim. However, Monty Williams needs to find some more balance on the team’s pick and roll attack and get the ball to the Pelicans’ best player even more.

Let’s hope Davis solidifies his spot in the All-Star game tonight. Enjoy the game!

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