Time to see if Anthony Davis is truly the Batman for the Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 28: Anthony Davis
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 28: Anthony Davis /

The New Orleans Pelicans are adding talent through tough times. NOLA’s latest array of moves will help AD in a few areas. However, the fate of the Pelicans, in the long run, this season will require an energized leader in Anthony Davis. It’s time to ask if he’s wired to be that guy.

A week ago Slam magazine published an article on DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis- a year later. As any anniversary would have it, the article divulged into the origins of Cousins and Davis together. It covered their spectacular statistical performances and shined a light on the deep bond the two share.

For local fans, their friendship wasn’t anything new. However, just as in any relationship, the way a person simply looks at another tells a story. And there’s just a certain glow about Davis and Cousins; a rare connection.

New Orleans Pelicans DeMarcus Cousins
NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 22: DeMarcus Cousins /

The picture shows jubilation at its peak. The tweet shows a man broken at a valley.

As Slam continued its coverage on the relationship of the dominant pair, the two were asked to play a game. This game pulled up various famous tag-teams from cartoons to music and simply asked: “Who’s Who?”

In the video that you can watch above, the two playfully jabbed and joked, as they took turns vouching for why they were or weren’t a particular character. The key is, every duo that was chosen were complete opposites. Not wanting to openly take the perceived “lesser” role; Davis and Cousins compromised to both be the Alpha male with some of their selections.

The most notable representation of this was when Batman and Robin were presented. “I’m Batman!” both Davis and Cousins shout. Baffled looks, and puzzling questions of “What?” were then exchanged as they both appeared perplexed. “Bro you Robin it’s cool” Cousins tells Davis. Davis later gives in and responds “We’re both Batman”

Cousins seemed to be joking when calling Davis his sidekick. Which is quite a dynamic within itself,  Davis actually possesses the talent and game of a Batman. He doesn’t possess the personality of one. Batman is a vigilant, vengeful presence that takes matters into his own hands under any circumstance. Davis is more passive and a mild-mannered personality, who doesn’t mind someone else taking charge.

AD’s style and personality often allows lesser talents to out attack him on occasion. He could go a complete quarter without touching the basketball, and it won’t bother him enough to complain or demand a single possession. And if it does bother him, you won’t notice it.

That’s why when Davis went on a four-game tear averaging 39 points per game earlier in January, people were stoked. The rise in excitement wasn’t as much about the performances, as it was the shot volume. A player of Davis’ talent shouldn’t wait for his shot or the basketball. He should demand it!

It’s why players like Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins have been so important for him. Players that sometimes lack a conscious, and believe in any predicament, their talents can overpower the opposition.

It’s why a guy like Kevin Durant needed a Russell Westbrook or an already loaded Golden State Warriors team. Standing in the shadows was preferred over being in the spotlight. The NBA has been often driven by people who have a completely different type of mentality. The Mount Rushmore of NBA greats consists of players who push their teammates physically or mentally. And while no one truly knows what takes place behind the scenes, the Pelicans can look like a team just doing whatever they want.

Sometimes it’s a coaching manner, as Gregg Popovich has made a career of coaching the mild-mannered star. Taking their best features and traits and turning them up 10 notches. But Davis doesn’t currently have that at his disposal, no disrespect to current coach Alvin Gentry. Mild-mannered superstars come with many perks. They’re coachable, less ego-driven, and are normally great teammates who are often fantastic in the community, all of which are true about Davis. But history has shown that realm of personality type needs an aggressive counterpart to achieve the greatest of team success.

Boogie was that person for AD. Unfortunately now Boogie will be forced to play more of an Alfred role, helping with film and advising Davis as he watches from afar momentarily. Through this period Davis will continue to put up great stat lines as we’ve witnessed countless times over his career, and as recent as the Pelicans’ two-game road-trip last weekend. During that stretch, Davis poured in 81 points to go with 19 rebounds.

The more Davis performs the more outside pundits will go back to clamoring the need for the Pelicans to trade Davis or add more help around him again. Meanwhile, General Manager Dell Demps has done a remarkable job given the lack of assets he’s possessed and the ill-timed luck.

Demps has once again added supporting talent to complement Davis with the finalizing of the Nikola Mirotic trade. Smaller additions as Emeka Okafor and DeAndre Liggins will also have their positive impacts both on and off the floor as well. And don’t be surprised if NOLA makes one more move, or is rumored to be in another. The Pelicans would easily prefer a healthy Boogie Cousins all day. But looking at their current roster things could be a lot worse. No one can argue the Pels front office has done the absolute best they could do given the circumstances.

New Orleans has had its share of injuries and obstacles for sure over Davis’ tenure. But after watching many Pelicans have career years in other places, is it time to questions Davis? Is he capable of dragging a team, while lifting others around him? That’s a question simply not asked enough in New Orleans. And the idea of a passive, limited distributing big-man may not provide the answer most want in New Orleans.

Slowly think about the troubles Dwight Howard went through when you look at AD. How quickly his personality mixed with the absence of winning changed his overall perception. His drive was questioned as his playful style was accused of being not serious enough to build around. Who’s to say Davis’ sometimes nonchalant attitude won’t eventually be looked at as someone not passionate enough about the game. Davis is arguably more talented and different as an individual, but there are a few parallels

There’s reason to believe an energized, passionate Anthony Davis will emerge consistently. But if the Pelicans aren’t able to improve and stay mediocre, maybe a different narrative should exist. Instead of bashing the front office even in their imperfections. It is now time to look at the beloved Davis.

Bourbon Street Shots’ Micheal McNamara expressed these thoughts before Greg Monroe took his talents to Boston. Even without Monroe the sentiments shouldn’t be much different. The Pelicans lost a huge amount of elements when DeMarcus Cousins went down. They lost a hell of a player and an unappreciated playmaker given all his flaws. The biggest thing they lost is the heartbeat he provided the team. This, in turn, allowed Anthony Davis to perform in the shadows on occasion.

Next: Could The New Orleans Pelicans Make A Trade For Julius Randle?

The New Orleans Pelicans need Davis to now play that role and be that heartbeat. So, if he is truthfully a Batman, now is the best time for him to show it.