Suns vs Pelicans tonight at 7pm PST on Fox Sports Arizona! How freaking good is Anthony Davis?
Ryan McDonough is inarguably a better GM than Dell Demps of the New Orleans Pelicans. Demps is responsible for the Pelicans paying Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holliday, and Eric Gordon over $52 million this season. He is the reason the Pelicans did not have a draft pick last year in the lottery and he is the reason they won’t have one this year, most likely in the lottery.
Demps is the reason Anthony Davis was drafted along with point guard of the future Austin Rivers in 2012, and he is the reason Anthony Davis is not currently joined by Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt. In 2013 Demps opted to trade Noel for Jrue Holliday immediately after drafting him. Instead of Davis and Noel dominating for the next decade-- keep in mind the two of them combine for a wingspan over 15 feet long-- Noel is hanging out in Philadelphia doing 76er things. Dell Demps still has a job.
Despite the fact that New Orleans has employed one of the worst GMs in basketball for the past five seasons its fan base really has nothing to fear. Anthony Davis is on track to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, barring injury. This month since coming back from shoulder problems Davis has averaged 29.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. This season Anthony Davis averages 4.3 blocks/steals per game combined. He is shooting 54.2% from the field and 83% from the free throw line, where he makes 6.6 trips per game.
Dell Demps drafted Anthony Davis first overall in 2012 in a draft where all 30 GMs would have made the exact same pick with the first overall selection. The New Orleans Pelicans and Dell Demps have made mistakes recently, but none of it really matters. Because of Bird Rights Davis may spend the next decade in NOLA, and Anthony Davis is a mistake eraser. Davis is a reason to tank. A true franchise savior in every way. Anthony Davis is a nightmare for anybody he plays against who knows they can’t match his length and agility, and a nightmare for GMs like Ryan McDonough who know none of their hard work will matter if they can’t find someone 70% this talented.
Suns vs Pelicans tonight! IF THE SUNS WIN MAYBE DELL DEMPS WILL GET FIRED! But what do the others think…
What Vegas Thinks: Close Call (Suns -1, O/U 207.5)
According to Vegas the number of points separating these two teams tonight is unlikely to surpass the number of eyebrow the Pelicans’ star player possesses. This spread would probably be larger in the Suns favor if Alex Len were likely to be playing. Despite New Orleans having a 2 game advantage and coming into this game with more momentum than Phoenix the Pelicans have been a sub-.500 team on the road all season. However, without Len the Suns are likely to matchup against The Brow with Markieff Morris and Brandan Wright, both of who are likely to be lit up by Davis in the post and on the wing. However, the Suns have far more to work with in terms of players 2 thru 9 and even Davis has not played nearly as well away from the Smoothie King Center… yes that is the arena’s real name in New Orleans. A 1-point spread is nothing to get excited about as it is basically a toss-up, but it is indicative of how much these injuries are hurting Phoenix. This game would tilt strong toward the Suns if their ankles were made of titanium.
What the National Media Thinks: MVP?
This year’s MVP race is without a doubt the closest in a very long time and one of the most crowded. Anthony Davis may be its greatest casualty. Davis has a good chance of having a better stat line than any other fifth place finisher in votes in the league’s history. In 2006, Steve Nash’s second straight MVP season, Chauncey Billups finished fifth place in the MVP voting with 18.5 ppg and 8.6 assists. Billups shot 41.8% from the field and although his defense was always strong, it certainly wasn’t MVP level. In 2015, Davis is likely to finish in 5th place in the MVP voting behind Curry, Harden, James, and Westbrook. An argument could be made that many seasons, including those Nash years, Davis’s would be enough to win the MVP race by a decent margin even on a team who will be an 8th seed at best, and likely not a playoff team at all.
For good reason the national media is obsessed with this year’s MVP race. Recently Anthony Davis has grabbed the torch as the guy everybody thinks should be in the MVP race but isn’t really in the MVP race and so 150 media writers do pieces about how Anthony Davis should be in the MVP race. The same article has been written every single year about Chris Paul, and is written every single year if LeBron isn’t the favorite. We truly have reached the dog days of the season, even for media members, and these pieces get clicks. Ken Berger of CBS Sports is one of the writers who did a piece like this, and his is my favorite so it is the one I will reward with a hyperlink. If you want a strong look at how insane it is that Davis isn’t likely to finish top 3 in this year’s voting, go ahead and give it a read.
What Pelicans Fans Think: Fire Monty!
Boy, I knew Pelicans fans were not big on Monty Williams, nor should they be, but I was surprised to see this from The Bird Writes—incredible SB Nation name by the way—writer Kyle Gahagan. Apparently things have gotten so bad that New Orleans fans are interested in reading about NCAA coaches who should take over. Keep in mind this team is a game out of the playoffs and coming up on a stretch of games that determines their season. I have to give his list credit because Gahagan’s top candidate is Sean Miller, and as an ASU fan there is nothing I would love more than Miller exiting my life forever. What he has been able to do at U of A is remarkable even by their standards, however the rest of the list is unremarkable. Pitino is a retread whose strength lies in recruiting, not teaching. Tony Bennett has had a couple great years in Virginia, but I wouldn’t peg him as ready for an NBA gig yet. Beilein has as a bad season for every two good seasons at Michigan, and far more good seasons than great ones. Billy Donovan is an interesting name, and probably the only name on the list that would consider the job, but I’m not ready to hand him the reigns to the youngest super-duper star in the NBA yet. Donovan is more suited for a team like Orlando or Philadelphia, where his entire team is young and can be improved upon.
If the Pelicans fire Williams at the end of the season, which they most certainly will, and the Bulls fire Thibs, much less certain but very possible, then he should be the only name on their list. As a matter of fact, if Thibs is not the coach of the Bulls OR Pelicans next year then the commissioner should veto the move and make Thibs coach New Orleans. This sort of thing has precedent.
Also, I heard Lindsey Hunter is available? Trust me New Orleans, you would love him! HUNTER FOR NOLA 2015!