NBA

Anthony Davis & New Orleans Pelicans Look Ahead After Early Playoff Exit

Anthony Davis & New Orleans Pelicans Look Ahead After Early Playoff Exit

anthony david pelicans out of nba playoffs 2015

No one gave the 8th seed New Orleans Pelicans much of a chance against the Golden State Warriors, but despite being swept they showed the ability to keep up with top seed in every game of the short series, especially with Anthony Davis on board.

The Pelicans showed off a lot of their positive attributes in the series; however, Game 3 showed that they weren’t quite ready for the spotlight yet. Up by as much as 20 points in the 4th quarter, the Pels blew the led to the fired-up Warriors squad, losing in overtime. The NBA later apologized for missing two fouls committed by the Warriors with under a minute left; but the mental damage was done, and the Pels really had no chance in Game 4 after such a devastating loss two nights before.

Don’t let the early playoff exit fool you, fans—the Pelicans had a fantastic 2014-2015 NBA season all things considered. A 45-37 record and a tie-breaker over the Oklahoma City Thunder put the Pels in the playoffs with the 8th seed in the tough Western Conference. It wasn’t an easy journey by any means with injuries and general inexperience plaguing the team all throughout the season yet again, but the Pelicans have shown tremendous potential for the future.

Tyreke Evans is playing some of the best basketball of his career, Jrue Holiday has stepped up as a team leader when he’s healthy, Quincy Pondexter has emerged as a sharp-shooter, and Eric Gordon didn’t completely anger fans this year by claiming to be injured and collecting a fat check like in years past. In fact, Gordon was a key part of this team’s long-range threat, finishing the season with 44.8 percent from beyond the arc—the second-best in the NBA.

anthony davis with coach monty williams pelicans 2015

Then, of course, there’s Anthony Davis. The 22-year-old superstar forward made the leap this season from good All-Star to top-three elite NBA player. With 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game to go along with a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 30.89, Davis did it all for the Pelicans this season. If this team is going to make its first playoff run without Chris Paul on the roster, Davis will need to be the man leading the charge; and he is definitely happy with the direction in which the team is moving right now:

“We improved from last season in different categories,” said Davis. “[Our progress is] right on time. It’s all a learning experience. We’re learning as a unit, and individually. I think the pace we’re on right now is good. We improved each year, I improved each year. People counted us out for the playoffs, but we never doubted for one second that we couldn’t get in. We gave the Warriors a tough fight. Guys played well. That’s all you can ask for.”

The rest of the team shares in Davis’s optimism looking forward to next season. They understand that they had a tough break with multiple injuries and such this season; and they can do much better in the coming years with a healthy slate of players.

“You look at our record, if we had this [complete healthy] team through the whole year, we could’ve at least had five more wins,” said Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson. “We could’ve possibly had homecourt advantage [in the first round]. That’s kind of exciting to think about.

It’s hard to argue with him there. A full season with Pondexter, Dante Cunningham, and Norris Cole as well as a healthy Davis and Holiday could certainly mean a better playoff ranking in 2016.

Really, with head coach Monty Williams and Anthony Davis together, this team will only continue to get better.

NBA
@chrismaurice18

Chris covers everything NBA, NFL and NCAA with his weekly recaps, highlights and anything else he thinks you'll want to know about and more than likely things you don't want to hear about your favorite team. His take no prisoners opinion gets some fans worked up, but that's because he's almost always right.

More in NBA

2017 nba trade deadline winners and losers images

2017 NBA Trade Deadline Winners and Losers

Chris MauriceFebruary 24, 2017
carmelo anthony looking safe with knicks as trade deadline hits 2017 images

Carmelo Anthony looking safe with Knicks as trade deadline hits

Chris MauriceFebruary 23, 2017
kevin garnett blames aau for killing nba 2017 images

Kevin Garnett blames AAU for killing NBA

Chris MauriceFebruary 22, 2017
kyrie irving seems unsure on earth is flat comment now 2017

Kyrie Irving now unsure on ‘earth is flat’ comment

Chris MauriceFebruary 21, 2017
Pelicans Acquire DeMarcus Cousins from Kings for a Bag of Chips and a Flat Coca Cola 2017 images

Pelicans Acquire DeMarcus Cousins from Kings for a Bag of Chips and a Flat Coca-Cola

Chris MauriceFebruary 21, 2017
anthony davis committed to pelicans 2017 images

Anthony Davis committed to New Orleans Pelicans

Chris MauriceFebruary 20, 2017
all star game selection confusing for bradley beal and carmelo anthony 2017 images

NBA All-Star game selection confuses Bradley Beal, Carmelo Anthony

Chris MauriceFebruary 19, 2017
nba does some gatorade rebranding 2017

NBA does some Gatorade rebranding

Chris MauriceFebruary 16, 2017
lebron james and dwayne wade stick up for knicks charles oaskley arrest 2017 images

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade stand by Knicks Charles Oakley arrest

Chris MauriceFebruary 10, 2017

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

You will only receive one per day. You'll also get a free THE WALKING DEAD graphic novel with your subscription