MINNEAPOLIS — Props to the fans.
Anthony Davis knows he has his supporters to thank for receiving the starting nod for the Western Conference in next month’s NBA All-Star Game.
The New Orleans Pelicans power forward tallied 1,369,911 votes, which is the third highest among all the players.
“It’s all the fans,” said Davis, after his team’s morning shootaround before the Pelicans took on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday. “I have a lot of fans support, and I’m just trying to get better each and every day, each and every game to go out there and do what the fans expect. I’m glad people are starting to see what the coaches and the players, my teammates (have) seen since Day 1.”
This will mark Davis’ second All-Star appearance in his first two seasons in the league. He was named to last year’s squad as a reserve to replace Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who was injured.
Davis doesn’t feel there is much of a difference between being an All-Star starter and a reserve.
“All-Star is an All-Star. That’s definitely a blessing,” Davis said. “Just being an All-Star, starter or reserve, as long as you get that opportunity to play on Sunday with some incredible guys; they’re the best players on the planet. I didn’t get voted in last year, so I think it’s kind of different for me just in that situation.
“It wasn’t, ‘OK, I have to do it; I have to be a starter.’ It was just, ‘I’m going to go out there and play, and if it happens, it happens.’ I’m just excited to be in that game.”
In his first All-Star Game last season, Davis played 9 minutes, 35 seconds and racked up 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting. He also had two steals and one rebound.
Davis is currently the third-leading scorer in the NBA at 24.3 points per game. He’s also tied for 10th in rebounds (10.4 per game) and is tops in the league in blocks (2.95).
Even with all his accolades over the years — two gold medals with Team USA and two All-Star appearances — the 21-year-old Davis tends to stay even keeled.
“Just humble. I just know as easy as all this came to me, it can easily go away,” Davis said. “I try to remain humble. Guys around me who make sure that I stay humble and keep me grounded. ... That’s the best thing you can ask for when guys are not pumping your head up, saying, you’re this, you’re that — by telling you want you need to hear, instead of what you want to hear.”
Rookie phenom turning it up
Andrew Wiggins had a slow start, but he has sure turned it on of late.
The Minnesota Timberwolves rookie guard is averaging 20 points per night in the last 13 games. He scored a career-high 31 points to along with nine rebounds and three blocks in a win at Denver on Jan. 17.
Wiggins, the top overall selection in last year’s draft, is now averaging an NBA rookie-best 15.1 points per game.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams has taken notice of Wiggins’ improved play.
“He’s a really good player,” Williams said. “All the pressure that goes with being a No. 1 pick, starting to see him play at a really high level the last 20 games or so. It just takes time for young guys, and he’s a tremendous athlete, you know he’s going to improve if he works at it. They should be happy to have him here.”