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Anthony Davis is an MVP-type player, but he won’t win it this season

anthony davis, russell westbrook
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

We’ve already taken a look at what makes Russell Westbrook an MVP player without an MVP team – the reason he probably won’t win the award. But another player in the exact same situation is Anthony Davis.

Unlike Russell Westbrook, who has the team just not the team success at the moment, Anthony Davis stands pretty much alone. The greatest example available is how he on opening night had 50 points, 15 rebounds, five steals, five assists, and four blocks on 17-of-34 shooting from the field – and the Pels still lost 107-102 against the Nuggets. This sort of mammoth game not translating to a win shows just how superstar performances in today’s NBA do not guarantee wins.

The biggest thing that limits how the Pelicans and AD succeed again comes down to his supporting personnel. The New Orleans Pelicans currently own the 24th ranked offense averaging at just over 103 points per game. Davis’ 30.4 points per game would then mean that almost one-third points scored for the Pelicans are his own. Looking at the roster, only three other players average over 10 points per game (not including Jrue Holiday who has just now returned from injury.)

Using the PIE statistic which estimates a player’s impact on a game Anthony Davis holds the 3rd highest figure at 20.5. Davis now is using the ball at the highest rate of his career at 34.5%. Put simply the Pelicans need AD to score and create for himself all whilst trying to anchor their 15th ranked defense (103.2) and rebound at a high rate (8th in the league.)

The best way to explain to you Davis’ impact is to look at just how different the Pelicans are with him on and off the floor.

  • +10.7 in offensive rating with him on the floor (106.3/95.6)
  • +3.4 percent rebounds
  • +5.5 percent assists

In addition, Davis currently ranks in the top 15 in both Plus-Minus and Value over Replacement Player (VORP).

AD is a weird conundrum for the Pelicans; his performances are incredible but it shouldn’t be the way that a superstar needs to carry such an offensive and defensive load just to even remain competitive. Davis is both top 10 in minutes played and third in field goal attempts at over 150. This just isn’t sustainable in today’s NBA.

Thankfully, unlike the Thunder, the Pelicans have started to find a way to convert AD’s heroics into wins, now winning their last four with incredibly impressive wins especially against the Blazers, Hornets, Hawks and Celtics. Now 6-10 and coming off a home win versus the T-Wolves, the Pelicans should continue to improve especially with the return of Jrue Holiday. Through his first three games, Holiday is averaging 26.1 points and 9.0 assists per 36 minutes. Tyreke Evans should also be back come December; when healthy last season Evans averaged 15 points, 6.5 assists and five rebounds per game.

The Pelicans may compete for a playoff spot after all, but as already stated it won’t be enough to earn Anthony Davis MVP honors.

Prediction: Miss playoffs, ninth to 13th seed.

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