The New Orleans Pelicans fell to the Atlanta Hawks 121-115 on Friday night, losing their fifth consecutive game to begin the 2015-16 season. Unlike his overall performance during New Orleans’ dismal start, though, Anthony Davis certainly doesn’t shoulder blame for this latest setback.
The 22-year-old scored 43 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished three assists, swiped four steals, and blocked three shots against Atlanta, becoming the first player since David Robinson in 1994 to reach those single-game statistical thresholds. Watching Davis on Friday night, it seemed impossible that a player so preternaturally gifted and obviously skilled could ever struggle the way he has in the season’s early going.
But there were several mitigating factors bound to render those labors fleeting. First and foremost is sample size. Four games isn’t nearly enough time to glean accurate prognostications on a player’s hopes going forward – especially in late October and early November. Then there’s Davis-specific context to consider. Namely, that the Pelicans are still implementing a new offensive system and doing so with key cogs Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter and Omer Asik out of the lineup.
Anyone expecting Davis to disappoint all season long, basically, was foolish. He’s simply too talented to be anything less than All-Star level over the full 82-game grind, and seems right back on track to be so much more than that throughout 2015-16, too.