This was supposed to be Davis’s year. After the New Orleans Pelicans signed NBA Twitter’s favorite coach Alvin Gentry, everyone, myself very much included, thought that they and their incredibly gifted 22-year-old center were going to make a leap this season. If I made predictions at the start of this season, Davis would have been my MVP.
Depleted by injuries, the Pelicans have ranged between dreadful and not very good, and they limped into Auburn Hills to play the Pistons with a 22-33 record, five games out of the playoffs.
And then Anthony Davis had the game of the goddamn season. In 43 minutes, he scored 59 on 24-34 shooting and nabbed 20 rebounds. 50-20 games are white rhinos in the NBA—the last person to have one was Chris Webber in 2001. The brow is also the second youngest person to put up at least 59 and 20—according to ESPN’s Mark Stein, Bob McAdoo did it in 1974 for the Buffalo Braves (!), but he was six months older than Davis.
This is hopefully the start of a bonkers second-half campaign for Davis. Because of the so-called Rose Rule, he will earn an extra $23 million if he’s selected to an All-NBA Team after the season. He missed one opportunity to make bank when he wasn’t voted into the All Star Game, and it doesn’t look like he’ll let that opportunity pass by again.