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Stempak: Pelicans have to give Davis help

| Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I read a tweet over the weekend that perfectly described the most exciting — and simultaneously sad — storyline of the first week of the NBA season: “Anthony Davis on this Pelicans team is like if you put Denzel Washington in a ‘Madea’ movie.”

And to be honest, I don’t think this tweet is fair. To Madea. The fiery elderly woman portrayed by Tyler Perry has been the namesake and star of eight films since 2005. Grossing nearly $500 million adjusted for inflation, the “Madea” series is the furthest thing from a failure.

Sure, the production quality and critical reviews of the franchise are not exceedingly positive, but the films are profitable. Each of the eight films have grossed over $50 million.

Not surprisingly, Denzel Washington has done better than “Madea” both with critics and consumers. But by not as much as one would think. Washington’s movies have averaged a little over $79 million gross per film, and the actor has earned two Academy Awards over his career. “Madea” is still waiting on a nomination from the Academy, but who knows, maybe adding Denzel in the next installation could help. He would have to carry the team of actors on his back, but he would be in a better position to succeed than Anthony Davis.

This unfortunate Pelicans team is a dumpster fire that Davis is trying to put out with a teacup. Davis has gotten every ounce of fire-suppressing capacity from that little teacup of his and more, but it hasn’t translated to success in the win-loss column.

The fourth-year player out of Kentucky has put up monster stat lines to begin the season, only to see his team at bottom of the Western Conference with an 0-3 record. Davis put up 95 points through two games, the most since Michael Jordan’s 91-point two-game start to the 86-87 season.

In the opener, Davis was the first player ever with at least 45 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five steals in any NBA game. Davis is the only player on his team with a positive box score plus-minus, which is an estimate of points per 100 possessions that the player contributes to the team above a league-average player.

Simply put, Davis’ entire team is holding him back. But watching his superhuman performances is a thing of beauty, and until the Warriors get their chemistry together, he will be the most exciting player to watch this year.

Davis and the Pelicans is like if you cast Denzel Washington in every role in a “Madea” movie and it still flops. It is a sad sight to see these Pelicans flopping around with Davis putting forth his best performance every night, but his $22 million salary might dull the pain.

In the meantime, Davis should hope his teammates learn to contribute, or the Pelicans will be at the bottom of the league the entire season.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About R.J. Stempak

R.J. Stempak is a sophomore computer science major who enjoys basketball.

Contact R.J.