Well, we won’t be seeing Anthony Davis playing in the Big Apple this weekend.
What would have been Davis’ first All-Star start has been thwarted by the shoulder sprain he suffered in a nasty fall while executing a lob dunk Saturday against the Chicago Bulls and which subsequently kept him out of the Pelicans last two games.
Which is a shame.
That’s because AD really, really, really was looking forward to the experience, even more than a year ago when he was a late addition for the game that was played in the Smoothie King Center.
“I was sort of an ambassador last year,” Davis said before he was injured. “And it was fun but I had a lot to do.
“This one’s going to be a lot easier because it all won’t be so overwhelming to me. I’ve got a feel for it now.”
And it’s also a shame because AD really, really, really, really wanted to be back on the court for the two games he missed, losses to Utah and Indiana that put a serious dent in the Pels’ playoff hopes, even though two months and 28 games are left in the regular season.
“I was disappointed I couldn’t be out there helping my teammates,” Davis said Thursday. “But to see us without Jrue (Holiday) and Ryan (Anderson) and have nine or 10 other guys trying to do the right things was tough.
“The good thing about our team it that everyone is willing to step up as much as possible when their number is called. It’s been really disappointing that I haven’t been able to be on the floor for the last couple of games.”
Obviously, Davis and those around him made the right decision in both cases.
Playing in the All-Star game would have proven nothing and sent the wrong message about his priorities.
Not that Davis would have gone ahead and played, even though he had the blessing of his team and his teammates.
“What you have in Anthony is a person who wants to be the best player in the game, but who also works hard to be great teammate,” Pelicans General Manager Dell Demps said. “He’s selfless.
“It’s all about the team for him.”
Davis is still making the trip to New York for the All-Star festivities in addition to making personal appearances for his growing list of endorsements such as Foot Locker and Nike, although he’s yet to introduce his own signature shoe.
He’ll also be courtside for the game at Madison Square Garden.
“Even if I’m not playing, I still want to be out there on that bench, supporting the West, just being around,” he said. “I want to feel like I’m part of the team. So without playing, I will still enjoy the experience of being around all these All-Stars.”
In a sense, this was going to be AD’s introduction to the nation, or reintroduction since his MVP for Kentucky during his performance in the 2012 NCAA Championship in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
While Davis is having an historically great season, the Pelicans remain among the lower-profile teams in the NBA and are on only a handful of national broadcasts.
Before the injury, Davis was the subject of in-depth articles in Grantland and SportsIllustrated.com.
Sheridan Hoops recently anointed AD the front-runner for league MVP, although the missed games this week may be damaged his chances.
The numbers though — fourth in scoring (24.9 points-per-game), 11th in rebounding (10.3), eighth in field goal percentage (.551) and first in blocks (2.74) can’t be denied as can the league-leading player efficiency rating of 31.7 has been matched only by Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
But MVP is something Davis doesn’t appear to be too worried about.
“I just worry about going out and playing basketball,” he said. “Whoever does the voting – that’s their job to worry about that. It’s nice to be in the conversation, and maybe one day it’ll come.
“But I’m not rushing anything.”
Including getting back on the court, although for the sake of the team, it can’t come soon enough.
It was telling that before the Pacers game, Pels coach Monty Williams talked about how hard Davis has worked to get himself fit to play, but “he just doesn’t look right.”
Williams also made the rare admission about how important the game was to give the team momentum going into the All-Star break.
Usually Williams is a “one-game-at-a-time,” guy who is reluctant to declare one game bigger than the others, at least publicly.
But despite Williams’ exhortations, the Pels went out and laid their biggest egg of the season, losing 106-93 after trailing by as many as 33 points early in the fourth quarter.
Starting guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon were a combined 5-of-20 and totaled 14 points.
“I think we’re getting a little run-down,” Gordon said. “Maybe teams are figuring us out.
“Teams are slowing us down and guys who have been making shots haven’t been making them.”
For a team that’s suddenly struggling to remain in the playoff hunt, that sounds like a call for its best player to get back in a hurry.
So have fun at the All-Star Game, AD.
But please stay safe.