The shorthanded Pelicans have won just four of their first 14 games and have been mired near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The rash of injuries that ruined last season has not only continued, it has expanded to other misfortunes such as the offseason death of Bryce Dejean-Jones and the family health crisis that led Jrue Holiday to take a leave of absence.
Still, Davis has refused to complain about the situation and remains committed to seeing the franchise through its bad times.
“My desire to win here is the same,” he said. “I go out there and play. I don’t care what the record is. I just go out there and play. I have to lead this team and make sure my guys are always happy and high energy. I don’t care what people say about our team. They’re not in our locker room seeing us, not part of our group. That’s all white noise. I just try to control what I can: go out there and compete.”
Davis has been an early MVP candidate with averages of 31.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. His talent would have virtually every NBA team salivating if the Pelicans ever did put him on the market, even after shoulder and knee injuries that limited him to 61 games last season. Davis also has one of the league’s richest contracts, being owed about $104MM over the next four seasons.
Trade speculation emerged last week involving the Celtics, with one writer suggesting Davis might be acquired for a package made up of Jaylen Brown, Avery Bradley and three first rounders, along with taking back Omer Asik‘s contract. However, there is no sign that New Orleans was ever considering such a deal.
Davis said his top priority for now is to leave the injury problems behind him and play an 82-game season for the first time since entering the NBA.
“Injuries happen, and there’s nothing I can do about it,” he said. “I just wanted to get my body right to be able to play all 82 [games] this year and then play the postseason. I know how important it is to take care of my body and stay on the floor as much as possible. I know this team and what people say is noise. We just want to compete and get wins.”