New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams recently said that superstar Anthony Davis could eventually “go for 40 and 20.” That might be hyperbole, but we’ll never know it for sure unless The Brow gets more opportunities to put up numbers. In wake of a talk with his team on Wednesday, Williams ensured Davis will be afforded that chance on a nightly basis going forward.
Williams was unhappy with Davis’ offensive engagement in the Pellies’ 99-89 loss to DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. The Brow scored just 14 points on 12 shots versus the Kings, each of which tied his season-low.
New Orleans’ coach said after the game that he’d have a meeting with his team, stressing the need for Davis to be far more involved in the offense as the season wears on.
Via John Reid of The Times Picayune:
Williams wasn’t happy after the game, saying they are going to have a session on Wednesday where they have to be honest about who they are and what they have to do to win games.
”Anthony (Davis) cannot be in a game and not touch the ball,”Williams said after his meeting with players. ”We have to have an effort to get him at least 20 shots every night. ”And that’s on me too. As much as I draw up plays for him, run the offense through him, the guys on the floor has to know it. When they don’t do it, I’ve got to make sure they get him the ball. Because he’s not a selfish player, he’s going to make the right plays. And our guys know that.”
Sounds good to us.
A player as efficient as Davis deserves as many good shots as he can get. He joins Steph Curry – the league’s other leading MVP candidate – as one of two players in basketball to average at least 24 points per game on a true shooting percentage of 61.0 or higher. And unlike Golden State’s veteran sharpshooter, the 21 year-old Davis is still growing into his offensive game – he’s getting more versatile by the day.
We’ve mentioned previously that The Brow’s lack of “close-in” touches is cause for concern, and that still holds true. Whether or not New Orleans can find him shots in the paint, though, simply putting the ball in his hands more frequently on all spots of the floor is a prudent strategy. No other Pelican threatens defenses the way he does, and though he’s not a supremely gifted passer, Davis still has the nuance and intellect to find open teammates.
Bottom line: More time with the ball for a team’s best player is almost never a bad thing.
It bears noting that Williams’ 20 shots or bust mantra hasn’t yielded team success so far in 2014-2015. Davis has attempted that many field goals on five occasions this season, and New Orleans has been victorious just twice in the process. But there’s a lot of noise associated with that mostly arbitrary threshold, and Davis has averaged 31.6 points per game and shot 57% from the floor in those contests. There’s no reason to believe he couldn’t come very, very close to maintaining that awesome pace if given more shots.
New Orleans needs Davis to be his absolute best if it wants to remain competitive in the loaded Western Conference, and that means treating him like the dominant offensive force that he’s so quickly become. Williams understands that. Let’s hope his other players do, too.
What do you think?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.