New Orleans Pelicans consider shutting down Anthony Davis


Multiple reports have now surfaced that the Pelicans “haven’t ruled out” shutting down Anthony Davis for the season.

Most Pelicans fans agree that losses are more beneficial the team at this point than wins. Looking ahead, the Pelicans have no chance to make the playoffs, they aren’t courting any big name free agents, and they’re missing most of their starting players to injury.

What’s left is the draft.

Names like Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram offer a glimmer of hope for the disenfranchised fans of this disappointing organization. This team hasn’t drafted any of the players on their roster outside of AD, so it isn’t a surprise that fans miss the anticipation and hope that comes with a high draft pick.

They aren’t wrong either. NBA history tells us that to win a title you usually need a superstar, and two “sidekicks” to accompany him. Most agree Jrue Holiday can be the 3rd guy in that hierarchy (or maybe even the 2nd), but almost all agree the third guy isn’t currently on the team.

At the status-quo rate, the Pelicans will end the season with the 6th or 7th-ish pick in the 2016 draft. If the Pelicans rally together and go on a nice little win streak to end the year, they could end up with the 10th or 11th. Conversely, if they were to fully commit to the tank for the rest of the season, we could be looking at top 4 or 5ish odds, and a legitimate chance at Simmons or Ingram.

The difference between the 7th pick in the draft and the 4th is Anthony Davis.

The simple fact is that with him playing 36 minutes a game, you can’t really “tank” all that well. Sure you can play Kendrick Perkins at small forward, or have Toney Douglas defend the other teams Center, but those “sneaky” tanking tricks can only get you so far.

So the question becomes this: “Should the Pelicans shut down AD?”

The answer, as most answers are, is a complicated one.

Obviously, the Pelicans can’t just write “DNP: Too good” on the scouting report. If they were to shut him down, it would most likely be for health reasons. Davis is currently out with a knee injury, and also has a mysterious shoulder issue Gentry has mentioned.

The Pelicans are currently in the process of evaluating Davis with the team’s doctors. If the doctors were to say “he should miss about two weeks” the Pelicans would likely sit Davis down and talk about simply ending his season.

The Pelicans will NOT shut Davis down against his will. That needs to be made clear. The only way this thing happens is if both parties agree it’s the way to move forward.

There are three weeks and some change left of this season, if Davis is set to miss 1-2 then the question is simple about whether they can convince him to stretch that out another couple dozen days to grab a couple more losses (and try to get him a young stud to play with next season).

Davis needs to make an All-NBA team this season, or he losses about 23 million dollars in terms of the way his contract is structured. If the doctors came back and said “he’s got a paper cut” and the Pelicans said “great, let’s sit him on the bench against his will” then Davis would be furious.

Luckily, there is a 0% chance that happens.

The only way Davis gets shut down is if he actually has some kind of serious ailment, and the only way the Pelicans organization slightly stretches that timeframe is if he is 100% comfortable with the decision.

I seriously doubt the Pelicans would lie about Davis being injured, and I’m even more skeptical they would force him to the bench against his will. The question here is simply about the grey area that could be explored if he did end up having a mild injury.

If the Pelicans choose to explore that grey area, it will be because both parties involved have agreed that’s the right way to move forward.