Ranking 10 worst starters of the Anthony Davis era

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Alexis Ajinca Pelicans
Alexis Ajinca, New Orleans Pelicans. Clint Capela, Houston Rockets. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

4. Alexis Ajinça – 70 Games Started, -2.4 Box Plus-Minus as a Pelican

Okay, so picture this. With Alexis Ajinca, we have pretty much the exact same argument we had for Stiemsma and Smith, but a worse version of it. And one that includes more starts in a Pelicans uniform.

Unlike Davis and Smith, who had a 105.66 defensive rating when they shared the court, Ajinca and Davis allowed 108 points per 100 possessions in the 1,158 minutes they played together. Meanwhile, their offensive rating was virtually the same (105.51). All this adds up to a Net Rating of -2.49. That puts the Pelicans at an expected win pace of 34 games during an 82-game season.

I know your heart didn’t need to hear this, but when Duncan and Robinson shared the floor from 2000-03, they had a Net Rating of 11.78 (5,191 minutes). That’s an expected win pace of 70 games during an 82-game season.

Listen, we aren’t asking that they be at Duncan and Robinson’s level. Few tandems in NBA history are. But they are so far removed from that standard that it isn’t even funny at this point. And the worst part is that on his lonesome, Davis is in the same category as those watchful protectors. That means that the responsibility for this disparity lies squarely on Ajinca’s shoulders.

One last thing to add to all of this is that Ajinca’s offensive outputs were even worse than Smith’s. In 222 games, he averaged 6 PPG, 0.6 APG, and an OBPM of -2.5. After he was done with the Pelicans, Ajinca never played NBA basketball again.