Anthony Davis should be in MVP race

Anthony Davis dropped 48 points in a comeback win against the New York Knicks. His performance and the team’s potential standing in the West should slot him in the MVP race.

A come-from-behind win for Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden was something that never should have taken place. This team made absolutely no effort in the first quarter by scoring 13 points and allowing the New York Knicks to score 29.

Nobody wearing a Pelicans jersey was engaged on either end of the floor, but that was especially true on the defensive end. The game got so bad that the Knicks were already blowing out the Pelicans midway through the third quarter (96-77).

What changed the fortunes of that game were the timely baskets made by Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis. The Brow was instrumental in the comeback win, scoring 48 points, nabbing 17 rebounds, recording four steals and blocking three shots.

Without his masterful performance, the Pelicans would have suffered one of the biggest losses in their roller coaster season. Davis was outdueling Kristaps Porzingis (25 points, six rebounds and five steals) for most of the game, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Performance

Anthony Davis has been on a tear the last three games, averaging 38 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks. What’s even more eye-popping is that he’s shooting nearly 67.2 percent from the field, which can be categorized as NBA 2K numbers.

On the season, he’s putting up 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.1 steals per game, leading the Pelicans to the sixth-best record in the West at 22-20.

At this juncture, it’s safe to say that it’s time to throw Anthony Davis’ hat in the MVP race. Guys like Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been in the forefront of the conversation. Others like DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler have had their names being flaunted around lately. It’s about time to add Davis’ name as well to that list.

Not only is he in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and blocks, he seems to be outperforming his teammate DeMarcus Cousins as well.

The main difference between Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins is efficiency. Cousins seems to want to play around the perimeter and 3-point line, which has hurt his overall shooting numbers (47.4 percent compared to Davis’ 56.6 percent from the floor).

Both men are capable of shooting the 3-ball, but Davis is smart enough not to rely on it, hence why he only attempts two per game and Cousins averages 6.2, which is a detriment to the team.

Strengths

The reason Anthony Davis is putting up MVP-caliber performances lately is that he’s playing to his strengths. He’s getting to the paint and consistently making those buckets, nabbing rebounds and elevating his team on defense. It’s not surprising that Davis has turned on that switch lately as he’s been hampered with injuries throughout the season.

Many people assumed that DeMarcus Cousins would be possibly looked at as a dark horse MVP contender. He’s played extremely well this season but the issue with him is that he’s been inconsistent in pressure situations.

If the team needed an easy basket, he would go for a 3-pointer. When he’s called to rotate on defensive schemes, he pulls a James Harden and doesn’t play any defense.

You won’t get that problem with Anthony Davis; he always makes the effort every single night. The only thing that has hindered him has been injuries and the Pelicans’ record hovering around .500. If he stays healthy and continues to put up monster numbers as New Orleans continues to climb the Western standings, he has to be involved in the MVP race.