Chances are, a fair amount of Pelicans fans are pretty disappointed that Anthony Davis, the team’s sophomore stud center, was passed up for the All-Star Game. It’s certainly an understandable feeling; Davis has had a phenomenal season, proving that the massive hype surrounding him prior to his entrance into the league was justified. His player efficiency rating is 26.8, good for fifth in the league, and higher than that of Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade, all of whom were selected to one of the two All-Star teams. So, from that perspective, it’s easy to see how Pelicans could have an axe to grind over the ‘Brow getting snubbed.
But the simple fact is, the Pelicans are better off with Davis not going to the All-Star Game. Let’s face the facts; Davis is injury-prone, or at least he has been in his NBA career up to this point. Knee problems sidelined him for 18 games last year (which was probably the only reason Lillard beat him for Rookie of the Year), and so far this season, he’s missed eight games do to ongoing problems with his left hand. After suffering the injury in early December, he’s re-aggravated it several times and was out of the lineup for the Pelicans loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. Taking Davis’s injury problems into consideration, why would anyone want to see him risk further injury in a game that ultimately doesn’t matter?
Don’t get me wrong; Davis would have certainly been fun in the All-Star Game. After all, the game itself is primarily a showcase for the best athlete’s in the NBA to display their talents with earth-shattering dunks and are-you-kidding-me alley-oops. That sort of thing is tailor-made for Davis, who is one of the most phenomenal athletes in the NBA. When he came off the bench for Team USA in the 2012 Summer Olympics, dunking was pretty much all he did. He would have been a thrill to watch in the All-Star Game and when he does get his due (and that could happen as early as next year), he will undoubtedly put on a show. This, however, was not the best time for that.
Imagine a scenario in which Davis does make the All-Star roster; he comes in the game, throws down a thunderous dunk, and then … lands awkwardly, injures his knee and misses the rest of the season. Or maybe he re-aggravates his index finger injury again, trying to catch an alley-oop from Lillard. Admittedly, these sort of concerns are faced by every player who takes part in the All-Star Game, but they are a bigger area of concern for a player like Davis, who has nearly unlimited potential, but his already been thwarted by injuries multiple times in his rather short career.
So, Pelicans fans, I know you wanted to see Davis get his due, and watch him put on a show for a captive nationally televised audience — I would have liked to have seen that, too — but trust me, you dodged a bullet. Davis has the potential to be a Hall of Fame-caliber player and injuries are the only thing standing in his way at this point. Having him play in an ultimately meaningless game simply wouldn’t have been worth it.