The media’s breathless coronation of Anthony Davis as the NBA’s NEXT BIG THING has proven a little premature as the Pelicans have floundered their way to an 11-22 start to the season. That doesn’t mean Davis hasn’t played well and occasionally shown flashes of brilliance, but none of it has translated into team success. That’s been a source of endless frustration in New Orleans, despite the ongoing injury woes that have contributed heavily to the team’s struggles.
Head coach Alvin Gentry isn’t one to make excuses, and he’s certainly not above calling out his players when they show a lack of urgency – even when that pertains directly to his superstar player and franchise cornerstone. And unlike some who prefer to passive aggressively air their grievances in the media, Gentry isn’t afraid of confrontation, which is what happened Saturday night when he pulled Davis aside and accused him of not playing hard enough. Via John Reid of NOLA.com:
”I thought he was coasting a little bit,” Gentry said after Saturday night’s 105-98 road victory against the Dallas Mavericks. ”We really discussed playing a little bit harder during one of the timeouts. I thought he got upset and that triggered him. So I told him that I am going to yell at him every day now to keep him going like that. But he really picked it up.”
The results spoke for themselves. Davis scored 11 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. He added 14 rebounds, a steal, and a block. The Pelicans got a balanced effort as they had five players in double-digit scoring, including 20 points from Jrue Holiday, and 16 apiece from Ryan Anderson, Norris Cole, and Eric Gordon.