Anthony Davis soared higher than any Pelican in history Sunday after he recorded a career high 59 points and 20 rebounds against the Detroit Pistons.
The red-hot Davis led the Pelicans to a 111-106 victory. The 22-year-old’s performance was one that will be remembered for a long time. According to BasketballReference.com, the NBA has only seen two 50/20 games since 1983. The first being Shaquille O’Neil’s 61 points and 23 rebound game against the Clippers in 2000; and Chris Webber’s 51/26 stat stuffing performance against the Pacers in 2001.
The most impressive aspect of Davis’ exhibition was his field goal percentage. The big man was 24-34 from the field Sunday. He was money from beyond the arc (2-2), and (9-10) from the free throw line.
Sunday’s win put the former Kentucky standout in a category of his own as far as age is concerned. At 22 years, Davis is the youngest player to score 59 points in a game.
According to an ESPN Stats and Information article, Davis said after the game:
"That was a lot of fun, because the rim looked so big that it felt like everything I shot was going to go in," Davis said. "I wasn't keeping track of my point total, but the guys were telling me at the timeouts. They wanted me to get 60."
So what is next for the young star? People have been saying for a few years that the league will be Davis’ soon. When can we expect to see that?
The answer, to the surprise of some people, may be a while. Davis certainly is one of the best players in the league, no doubt, but he does not have a team around him. The Pelicans need to make moves if they want Davis to be in the national spotlight. As of right now, Davis is a Pelican for the next four years. He signed a $145 million contract extension with the team last summer. So, he is not going anywhere. But guess who is also not going anywhere? The Spurs, Warriors, Cavaliers and Thunder.
Davis cannot beat these teams on his own. He needs help. It is up to the management in New Orleans to bring people down to play with him. Kevin Durant should be the number one target this summer. Davis will not go anywhere in the playoffs unless he has help. He can average 60 points and the Pelicans would still lose to the Warriors nine out of ten times.
So, who are some potential free agents the Pelicans can snatch if they cannot reel in the big catch in Durant? The first name that pops into my mind is DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors. DeRozan is averaging 23.4 points per game this season. He is efficient, and most of all, he is underrated and has something to prove.
Harrison Barnes is another guy that could have a valuable role in New Orleans. He is a big three who stretches the floor. He is currently averaging 12.2 points per game in Golden State, but he is capable of more. He does not get a lot of touches due to the fact that he plays with so many great players.
Remember, teams win championships. Davis may very well be the best player in the NBA in a couple years, but it won’t mean anything unless he is competing for championships. Look at LSU’s Ben Simmons. He may be the number one overall pick in the NBA draft this year, but his team may not even make the NCAA tournament.
Wins mean everything in sports. If Davis wants to go down as one of the all time greats, he has to convince some All-Stars to come visit Bourbon Street this summer.
Eddie Leonard is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He tweets @EddieLeonard23.