Last week, New Orleans Pelicans fans were disappointed to learn than Anthony Davis, the team’s star power forward/center, had been left off the Western Conference roster for the All-Star Game. After the phenomenal sophomore season Davis was having, it felt like a severe injustice to leave him off this team. On Friday, however, this problem was remedied as Davis was added to the list of All-Star reserves in place of the injured Kobe Bryant.
On the surface, this seems like something to cheer about. For one thing, Bryant had no business making the All-Star team and was quite clearly chosen by fans due to his famous name (Bryant himself admitted this and encouraged fans not vote for him). Secondly, Davis had been one of the best power forwards in the league and it seemed unfair that he was passed over for players like Dwight Howard and Dirk Nowitzki, both of whom had weaker stats than Davis, but benefited both from name recognition as well as playing on better teams. On the surface replacing Bryant with Davis feels like the best thing that could happen for every party involved.
But we look at the situation closer, things aren’t so cut and dry. Pelicans fans might be happy to see Davis get recognition for his excellent play with an All-Star selection, but there’s an important question to be asked here: Is playing in the All-Star Game really the right thing for Anthony Davis to do? Let’s remember, Davis has lost time to injury in both of his NBA seasons Last year, knee problems kept him out early in the season and submarined his chances at Rookie of the Year. This year, ongoing issues with his left index finger have kept him out of nine games. When taking Davis’s injury history into consideration, it’s worth asking if Davis should really being in a game with no actual meaning.
Let’s be clear, from an entertainment perspective, having Davis in the All-Star Game will be awesome. He’s one of the greatest athletes in the NBA, and in a setting like the All-Star Game, in front of his hometown fans no less, he’s bound to thrill us with a ton of electrifying dunks. But the injury risk cant be ignored. If he re-aggravates his knee or his hand and misses significant time as a result, there will inevitably be second guessing s to whether or not having Davis was the right idea.
It’s unlikely that Davis will be kept out of the game; the circumstances are just too perfect. He’s young player on the verge of superstardom who could be introduced to a much larger audience and it’s on his own team’s court. Let’s also remember that this is the first year of the transition from Hornets to Pelicans and having their best player front and center in a huge nationally televised event would be perfect for the team from a marketing standpoint. Taking all of that into consideration, Davis’s participation in the All-Star Game is all but a certainty. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get injured yet again, which would cast a dark cloud over what should be a joyous situation.