Anthony Davis isn’t going to change anything.
The All-NBA forward will leap for rebounds, dive for loose balls and climb to the rim. If he ends up on the ground a lot, so be it.
In turn, the 6-foot-11 superstar ends up sprawled out on the hardwood more than most big men. And often, those spills lead to minor injuries, which occasionally lead to mid-game locker room trips, which occasionally lead to a missed game.
“I’m going to play how I play,” Davis said. “If you want to throw me a lob, I’m going to try to go get it every time. After that, it’s out of my hands, but I can’t control how I come down or where I come down. If I land on someone’s foot or they push me or whatever, so be it, I’m still going to continue to play the way I play.”
That was the case earlier this week, when Davis fell awkwardly following a missed alley oop attempt in Monday’s win over the Detroit Pistons.
It forced Davis to miss the fourth quarter of that game and the entirety of the Pelicans’ 105-102 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. It was the fifth game he’s missed this season.
But after some initial consternation, Davis returned the court for Friday’s matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, entering the starting lineup and playing without a minutes restriction.
It’s just the latest example of Davis’ length, leaping ability and desire leading to a dose of pain and a trip to the X-Ray machine.
None of it phases Davis, who points to an example when he injured himself diving into the courtside seats for a loose ball two games in a row.
“I came back the next game and did the same thing,” Davis said. “It’s just how I play.”
It didn’t take DeAndre Liggins much time to get on the floor with the Pelicans.
Just hours after Liggins was signed to a 10-day contract, he was in New Orleans’ rotation, logging 11 minutes and scoring four points in the Memphis loss.
“It was great,” Liggins said. “Of course, I didn’t know much, but it was good being out there. It felt like they had a free flowing offense that really fit me well. I’m just trying to get accustomed to things since it was my first day, but it felt good. It feels good to be around a new environment.”
Thankfully for Liggins, there’s also plenty of familiarity.
He’s one of five former Kentucky players on the Pelicans’ roster, joining Davis, Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and his old roommate Darius Miller.
“Of course four of them were my teammates, so it’s like family,” Liggins said. “They’re all like family, and to see these guys again, it feels like I’m back at Kentucky. It really does make me happy to be here.”
While it’s not yet known how long Liggins will be in New Orleans, currently playing on a short-term deal thanks to an NBA-granted injury exception, there have already been promising signs for him.
The four-year veteran has logged 151 career games in the league and built a reputation as a wing defender, due largely to his 6-foot-6 frame and athletic versatility.
“We thought he did a good job of getting into the ball defensively,” coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think he can make open shots. He gives us a little bit of extra length at that position. I think we can stick him out there and play for us.”
On the mend
Gentry didn’t provide much of an update on healing Solomon Hill (hamstring) or Frank Jackson (right foot), neither of whom have played this season.
Jackson was initially expected to return sometime this month, and the team expressed optimism Hill could be back by late February.
But neither has participated in any full practice sessions yet.
“Same thing,” Gentry said. “It’s just a time situation on those guys. It’s not anything that can be rushed. I’ve watched them run and plant and cut and do all of those things, but it’s just not something that can be done in a 5-on-5 situation.
“They’re very much making progress, I think.”