Although Anthony Davis failed to get his New Orleans Pelicans team into the playoffs this past season, his individual contributions did not go unnoticed as it was announced he was selected as a member of the All-NBA First Team.
The First Team pretty much featured who you would expect in MVP candidates: Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James. But also making the NBA’s most prestigious team is a player whose brilliant individual season went mostly under the radar. That’s right, New Orleans’ own, Anthony Davis.
At only the age of 23, Davis had a phenomenal year. While stats don’t tell the whole story, he put up monster numbers this season with 28.0 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 2.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
On a Pelicans team that featured Davis, Jrue Holiday and not much else for most of the year, AD anchored his team to one of the league’s best defensive units while nearly pulling off the impossible of getting his lackluster team into the playoffs.
Of course the Pelicans added elite center DeMarcus Cousins late in the season, but even at the time of the trade, they were only 3.5 games out of the playoffs.
If anything, the midseason trade hurt New Orleans more than it helped. Not only did the Pelicans have to find a way to incorporate Cousins into the lineup in a short amount of time, but the trade also depleted what was already an underwhelming backcourt. In addition, Boogie’s late season contributions were interrupted by suspensions, constant foul trouble and injury, yet the Pelicans still had a shot at the postseason down the stretch because of one player — Anthony Davis.
In making the First Team All-NBA squad, Davis barely edged out fellow big man, Rudy Gobert. Davis accumulated 343 points (45 First Team, 34 Second Team and 16 Third Team votes) while Gobert just barely fell short with 339 (43 First, 38 Second, 10 Third Team votes).
Gobert’s defensive impact on the Utah Jazz is undeniable, and in my opinion, he’s the best defensive center in the league. However, Anthony Davis was relied upon each and every night to carry his team as the main guy while still performing at a high level. To me, his overall impact on his team puts him over the top when it comes to All-NBA recognition.
This is the second time in Anthony Davis’ career he has been selected to the All-NBA First Team. In 2014-15, Davis was selected as a forward, but after making a switch to center this season (prior to the Cousins trade) Davis was selected as a center this season.
Per the New Orleans Pelicans PR, Davis is the first player in franchise history to be named to the All-NBA First Team multiple times.
Anthony Davis becomes the 2nd player in NOP history to earn multiple All-NBA recognition and 1st player to be named to the 1st Team twice.
A season ago, Anthony Davis notably failed to land on any of the All-NBA teams due to an injury riddled season, thus disqualifying him for the NBA’s “Rose Rule,” which would have allowed him to earn an additional $24 million.