Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports
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Anthony Davis has Pelicans in position for playoff push

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis recently returned to the New Orleans Pelicans’ lineup after missing five games with a shoulder injury, and Davis has been as dominant as ever. In four March games, Davis is averaging 33.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocks while shooting 58.9 percent from the field. Russell Westbrook’s recent numbers have been awe-inspiring, but these are pretty impressive in their own right.

Davis’s numbers are even more impressive when you consider that he’s turning 22 years old on Wednesday. People knew Davis was a special talent coming out of Kentucky, but I don’t know how many people thought he would be this good, this fast. And what’s scary is the fact that he could still get even better. What happens if he learns how to shoot threes?

For the season, Davis is averaging 24.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks while shooting 54.9 percent. Only five other players in league history have averaged 24/10/2 while shooting over 54 percent, and Davis is on track to become the sixth, per Those other five are Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, David Robinson, Bob McAdoo and Patrick Ewing.

Furthermore, Davis’s 31.73 PER puts him right there in the conversation for the best PER ever. That record is currently held by Wilt Chamberlain, whose 31.8 PER in 1962-63 is the record. Remember, this dude is 21 YEARS OLD and can still get better.

Davis’s brilliance, as well as some big play from others, has the Pelicans right there in the playoff mix despite the injury to Davis, as well as injuries to Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson. The Pelicans went 4-1 in Davis’s recent absence, and it was basically 5-1 because he barely played in the game where he left with the injury. That’s a testament to the rest of the Pelicans, who had previously looked lost at times without Davis this season.

Even with this recent uptick in play without Davis, there’s no doubt that he belongs in the MVP conversation. His historic numbers alone are enough to have him right there, and if he can get the Pelicans into the playoffs, he deserves serious consideration. I don’t know if he can do enough to actually win the award, but he’d be a deserving winner nonetheless.

New Orleans is currently 35-29, and just a half-game behind Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Pelicans play against the scuffling Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night (Nets are actually the favorite), giving them a chance to make up another half-game. New Orleans is still one back of Oklahoma City in the loss column, but the point still stands that they’re right there. It should be a fun race right down to the wire, and it’s awesome that it’ll feature stars like Davis, Westbrook and Kevin Durant.(hopefully)


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