Davis, Pelicans Prepared for Playoff Push
VIDEO OF THE DAY – Anthony Davis
HOOPSWORLD catches up with New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis at the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas.Watch More Video Here
For New Orleans Pelicans second-year center Anthony Davis, there is only one goal on his mind for the upcoming season and that’s getting into the playoffs. Last season, the Pelicans ended the season with a 27-55 record, but the team is hoping to improve on that win-loss total this year, especially after an offseason of changes that netted Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans among others.
Despite missing 18 games due to knee injuries during his rookie year, Davis averaged 13.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. He finished second behind Damian Lillard in Rookie of the Year voting, living up to the hype that was built up after a stellar freshman season at Kentucky.
That acclaim continued when Davis got his first taste of post-collegiate basketball in the form of the 2012 Summer Olympic, where he averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in seven appearances with Team USA. At 19 years old, Davis became the youngest player in USA Olympic basketball history to win a gold medal. It was an experience that helped Davis make a smooth transition to the NBA.
“I learned a lot from (Team USA),” Davis said. “The coaching staff, the players, they helped me a lot. It gave me confidence going into the season. It gave me that extra boost that I needed to go out there and actually play my game. If I weren’t invited to play Team USA basketball, my season would’ve turned out a little bit different.”
Going into year two, Davis knows that in order to become an All-Star center in this league, he’s going to need to do more than just what he was able to accomplish last season.
“I’ve been getting stronger, working on my shot, post moves, everything like that,” Davis said. “Just becoming a better basketball player so I can help my team win.”
The pressure isn’t solely on Davis though. In a busy offseason, New Orleans changed just about everything, from their team name to their roster. Evans, who was signed to a four-year deal worth $44 million, and Holiday, who was acquired in a draft night trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, will join the Pelicans’ young core that consists of Davis, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson among others.
Davis, who’s currently participating in the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, had his first opportunity to play alongside his new teammate Holiday. Getting a chance to play with Holiday is something that Davis knows will benefit their team once training camp opens up.
“Jrue, he can really play,” Davis said. “Building that chemistry is going to be a plus for us going into the season. Hopefully we can carry this chemistry into the season and do big things.”
New Orleans’ backcourt now features Holiday, Evans, Gordon and Austin Rivers. Despite questions about where all these guards fit in the grand scheme of things, Davis believes having options will only benefit the team in the long run.
“We’re not sure how (Evans and Holiday fit),” Davis said. “We have to wait until we get into training camp and get to play with each other. Their roles can be different then what they’re used to doing on their old team. Coach is still working it out, but whatever it is, I know that they’re going to help us make a push for the playoffs.”