The best coaches are the ones who aren’t afraid to challenge or call out their star players. The best players are the ones who accept that challenge. Alvin Gentry knows this, and Anthony Davis is beginning to embrace it. Gentry most recently got on Davis’ case in the Pelicans’ win over the Dallas Mavericks. Rather than fight with Gentry, Davis rose to the occasion. As John Reid of NOLA.com reports.
Davis embraces being coached hard by Gentry, saying after Tuesday’s practice that he doesn’t want a coach who plays favoritism and not get on the star player like himself.
”He gets on everybody coaches, players,” Davis said. ”He doesn’t care who it is because he wants all of us to be better. If that’s what it takes for us to be better then I’m down for it. Like I said, he got on me during Saturday’s game and I was totally fine. Perk (Kendrick Perkins) gets on me, I don’t care. I know that they have my best interests.”
”I don’t think I was coasting,” Davis with a grin. ”I don’t know what I was doing but whatever I was doing obviously it wasn’t enough until he got on me. After the game, I was mad. I felt like they were wrong. But we watched the film and I was wrong.”
The relationship between Gentry and Davis is still in its infant stage. The two haven’t even been together for an entire season yet. That Gentry is already willing to call out Davis, and Davis is already willing to be challenged, bodes well for their bond. In fact, if Gentry had not challenged Davis, it would be worse for that relationship.
Davis has a chance to be a once-in-a-generation-type player, but he’ll never reach that level if he isn’t constantly pushed by his coach. Furthermore, his desire to be coach sets the standard for the rest of the team. It’s similar to how Tim Duncan leads the Spurs. Gregg Popovich constantly raves about Duncan’s work ethic and the fact that he’s never held himself above reproach. If Duncan doesn’t complain when Pop is riding him about a missed rotation, the rest of the team can’t either. This is how Davis needs to comport himself as he continues to blossom both as a player and a leader.