Who’s going to steal 23 million dollars from Anthony Davis?

Dec 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns won 104-88. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts against the Phoenix Suns during the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Suns won 104-88. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Anthony Davis will receive approximately 23 million dollars in contract incentives if he makes an All-NBA team this season. Who’s standing in his way?

The reason Anthony Davis is one All-NBA roster spot from getting a 23 million dollar christmas bonus is because of something called the “Rose Rule.”

If you’re familiar with the Rose Rule and want to get down to the meat of the article, feel free to skip to where it says “The Competition” in bold. For those who want a little background, read on.

The Rose Rule is named after former MVP Derrick Rose. It’s a special kind of max contract which applies to young superstars and allows the team which drafted them to give them a higher max contract than most restricted rookies. A regular max contract for a player leaving his rookie deal is 25% of the cap, while the Rose Rule allows the team to offer 30% instead.

In order to qualify for the Rose Rule, a player must do one of these three thing:

  • Be named an MVP
  • Start on two All-Star teams
  • Earn two All-NBA roster selections

Despite the fact that Davis has already signed a max contract, his inability to do one of these three things by next season will mean he only makes 25% of the cap as opposed to 30% (the difference between about 22 million dollars a year and 26 million dollars a year). He didn’t start on this season’s All-Star team, and it’s safe to say he won’t win MVP this season, so that leaves the All-NBA roster’s as the only way for him to earn his massive bonus.

The Competition:

First, make some educated guesses about how each All-NBA team will look in order to gage how many spots will be available.

Starting with the 1st team, we can assume LeBron James and Kevin Durant will take both forward positions. That leaves one position at center for a legitimate big man to try and claim. This position is likely going to either DeMarcus Cousins or Draymond Green (though Draymond is probably the leading candidate).

You can certainly argue Davis is a better player than either of those two, but they have had better individual seasons and are likely to receive more votes.

The 2nd team is a little more difficult to predict, mostly because it’s less clear whether the power forward spot will go to a legitimate big man or lengthy wing. Kawhi Leonard is going to secure the first forward position, and the second forward spot is probably going to either Paul George or Draymond Green (if he doesn’t make 1st team).

Even if the 2nd team does go with two traditional bigs, Andre Drummond is likely to beat Anthony Davis to it considering he has had a breakout season with the Pistons and managed to make the playoffs as a 1st option.

Regardless, it’s safe to say that Draymond, Cousins, George, Durant/LeBron, and Drummond will make it very difficult for Anthony Davis to make one of the first two teams.

Now comes the third team, where things get a little less black and white.

DeAndre Jordan:

DeAndre Jordan is no where near as good as Anthony Davis, but he was an important part of an elite winning team this season, and wins have a huge effect on how All-NBA votes are dispersed. This season he averaged 12.7 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks a game on 70% shooting from the floor. He’s huge, a great defensive presence, and scores (on very few attempts) at an insanely efficient rate. I still think Davis’ “star” quality and name recognition are likely to get him more votes than DeAndre, but it’s not a lock if people are turned off by how terrible Davis’ team was this season.

LaMarcus Aldridge: 

LaMarcus Aldridge might be the biggest threat to take AD’s spot. He averaged a very impressive 18.0 points, and 8.5 rebounds on 51% shooting in just 30.6 minutes a game. Davis still produces slightly more than Aldridge does on a per minute basis, but the gap in team success might give Aldridge the edge. His team is considered the greatest threat to the Warriors title chances, and he’s the 2nd most talented player on the roster. If I’m Anthony Davis’ accountant, Aldridge is the guy who makes me sweat the most.

Paul Millsap:

Millsap probably had the best season of his entire career this year. He averaged a very solid 17.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game in just 32 minutes a night. Once again, he comes fairly close to Davis on a per minute production basis, but Davis still has a pretty sizable advantage in that area. The plus for Millsap is that he’s currently enjoying home court in the playoffs, and is arguably the most important player on his team. Personally I think he’s a better player than LaMarcus Aldridge, but I don’t think he has the same level of name recognition. Millsap quietly earned himself an All-NBA selection this year, the question is whether the rest of the league noticed.

Karl Anthony Towns:

Towns has shattered expectations this season, delivering a rookie season that is undoubtably one for the ages. At just 20 years old he averaged an insane 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in just 32 minutes a game on 54% shooting from the floor and 34% shooting from deep. Davis probably still had the better season, but some voters might look at Towns final few months (nightly 27-15 performances and a win against the Golden State Warriors) and get swept up in the hype. His team’s record hurts him the same way it will hurt Davis, but his individual level of play makes him a solid candidate to consider.

Carmelo Anthony:

Carmelo is another player who improved in a lot of ways this season without receiving a lot of credit. Now in his early 30s and well past his athletic prime, Melo still managed to dish out a career high 4.2 assists a game this season and made a concerted effort to be a better team player. He also averaged a very respectable 21.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in 35 minutes per night. Once again, name recognition is a factor which needs to be mentioned. Despite the fact that the voters will be informed NBA writers and critics, a superstar who has dominated the league for over a decade is bound to get a few nostalgia votes (ex. Tim Duncan in 2015).

All things considered, I’d probably bet AD still gets an All-NBA selection. His team has been terrible, and he’s played less than 60 games, but he’s still a nightly 24-10 guy who also had the greatest game of the season when he put up 59 and 20 against the Pistons.

Whether Pelicans fans should be rooting for him to get the selection is another question…