New Orleans Pelicans are proving they’ll be okay without Anthony Davis

New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In the two games Anthony Davis has missed since the All-Star Break due to rest, the New Orleans Pelicans have looked fantastic. This is a very promising sign for the team’s future trajectory.

Since the All-Star Break, New Orleans Pelicans’ Interim General Manager Danny Ferry made it clear that he planned to play Anthony Davis no more than 20 minutes per game and would rest him on Night Two of back-to-back situations. That remained true as the Pelicans traveled to Denver last night on their way to a very impressive victory over the Nuggets, the current #2 seed in the West.

Despite their best player sitting on the bench, and a matchup that should’ve been a nightmare on paper, the New Orleans Pelicans hunkered down and left Denver with a shocking victory. Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle went off for a combined 57 points. Darius Miller and Frank Jackson added some nice production off the bench. Surging big-man Cheick Diallo put up an impressive double-double, something that happens very often whenever he sees over 20 minutes of action.

The other example of Anthony Davis resting during a back-to-back since the All-Star Break was equally as promising in a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 23rd.

In a game where the Pelicans were playing at full throttle in order to get some petty revenge against the Lakers, the Davis-less New Orleans team pulled off another impressive victory. Here again, Holiday and Randle shouldered the brunt of the scoring duties and posted 51 combined points. 7 of the 9 Pelicans that saw action scored in double figures. Once again, Cheick Diallo put up a double-double, this time shooting 100% from the field and the free throw line.

Admittedly, two games is an extremely small sample size. However, it is very telling that this team seems to step up to the challenge and are dying to prove themselves whenever Anthony Davis is off the court. The lineups without AD have each other’s backs, and it’s translating to victories and plenty of optimism for the future. Davis’ minutes going to guys like Cheick Diallo and Jahlil Okafor is doing wonders for the confidence and production of these young prospects.

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The future looks to be bright for the New Orleans Pelicans, despite what the national media might try to tell you. The team is showing that they’ll compete their hearts out with or without Anthony Davis and are capable of winning games once he departs. Combine this with whatever young, promising pieces the Pelicans get in exchange for AD this summer, and this organization seems to have a recipe cooking for lots of success for several years.