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Pelicans star Anthony Davis openly proclaimed ahead of Sunday’s All-Star Game that he was going after the MVP award, and he didn’t make his master plan on how to do so much of a secret.
Davis, who signed a five-year, $127 million contract extension with the Pelicans in July, was peppered with questions about his future earlier this week in a conference call with members of the international media in advance of Sunday’s All-Star Game in New Orleans.
During the conference call, Davis was asked about possibly teaming up with Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook with the Los Angeles Lakers someday. He also was asked whether the Pelicans’ slow progress — they’ve made the playoffs only once in Davis’ four seasons — would eventually lead him to push for a trade. It has been four years since the Pelicans rushed a prefab identity around Anthony Davis by dealing for Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans — the last two “young veterans” in a Finishing Five that would barely play together before disbanding.
Despite high expectations heading into last season, an injury-riddled Pelicans team lost its first six games and 11 of its first 12 before ultimately finishing a disappointing 12th in the Western Conference at 30-52. Davis missed a career-high 21 games, including the final 14 of the campaign to undergo an ultrasonic debridement of his left knee.
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Living life in the fast lane is fine, but at some point, the wholesale NBA jerseys amounts to one big horse race. The pace the Pelicans keep from here on out could determine whether the franchise can rise from a stretch of four out of five seasons as an also-ran, and, perhaps more important, how long their lone superstar will stay so calm, cool and collected.
Officials determined that O’Quinn’s foul was a flagrant foul 2, which led to his automatic ejection with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter. This came less than two minutes after Carmelo Anthony was ejected for two consecutive technical fouls for arguing during a timeout with 2:35 left in the third.
Davis made both free throws after the flagrant foul to push the Pelicans up 87-63 and did not return afterward.
Although just a college freshman, Towns had already held his own against NBA superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and then-No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, in an exhibition game against Team USA at age 16. So while on the bus in The Bahamas for an international preseason series in 2014, including a game against Towns’ Dominican Republic, the 18-year-old burgeoning star let it be known to his new teammates and coaches that he was ready for more.
Pelicans #23 Anthony Davis Black New Fashion Stitched NBA Jersey
At least that’s how Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne remembers it.
Davis wasn’t shy about his desire to earn a salary bump when asked about it in May. He joked then that he’d send voting media members thank-you notes if he were elected onto one of the teams. I am perhaps unnaturally intrigued with pairing Irving and Anthony Davis in New Orleans. Davis is almost the ideal co-pilot for a ball-dominant point guard. He’s a pick-and-roll dance partner who can isolate and post up when Irving needs a respite, and use the threat of his jump shot to draw defenders out of the lane. He doesn’t have the ballhandling to initiate possessions, but puts his mark on them every step of the way.
The MVP case for Anthony Davis quickly dissolves into a lament of the New Orleans Pelicans’ predicament over the past year, one coach Alvin Gentry has made often throughout the back end of another season on the outside of the Western Conference playoff field. Anthony Davis ripped the defensive rebound down amid a crowd of bright orange jerseys, thus ripping victory away from the Phoenix Suns, and strutted toward the baseline with the swagger befitting a superstar at the peak of his basketball-playing powers.
Davis let out a roar as he vigorously bounced his head up and down, and a crowd that had greeted an inflatable version of the team mascot with one of the biggest cheers of the night responded with its own. A spot on one of the three end-of-season All-NBA teams stands between Anthony Davis and an extra $24 million on the maximum extension he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans last offseason.