Anthony Davis is ready for the New Orleans Pelicans to take a step forward.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday at an event affiliated with his youth summer camp, Davis said he’s “tired of losing” and that he thinks the Pelicans are poised to rise up the Western Conference standings after making a slew of trades and signings over the past six months.
“We’re doing everything, whether it’s signing players, trading players … whatever it is to just try to make sure that we try to be a winning organization,” Davis said. “We have the tools right now to be successful. … Right now, I think we look good on paper. So we’ve just got to figure it out.”
If Davis sounds antsy, that’s because he should.
The Pelicans haven’t won more than 45 games in a season since selecting The Brow first overall in 2012, and their lone playoff appearance came during the 2014-15 campaign when the Golden State Warriors bounced them in the first round.
Now two years removed from a run that hinted at the Pelicans tantalizing upside, Davis is seeking a return trip to the postseason with a high-powered supporting cast by his side.
The key component is DeMarcus Cousins, who New Orleans acquired prior to February’s trade deadline to give itself the league’s only frontcourt combination featuring two players who averaged at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and a steal per game last season.
The Pelicans also tweaked their backcourt by re-signing Jrue Holiday to a five-year, $126 million deal and inking Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $3.3 million contract, which suggests Rondo will shoulder primary playmaking duties at point guard while Holiday is afforded more freedom to roam and create off the ball.
“When I first heard about Rondo, I thought it was a good situation for us,” Davis said, per the AP. “He knows when to get guys involved, when to make that pass.”
Even if that experiment does work in tandem with sustained excellence from Davis and Cousins, the Pelicans will be hard-pressed to break through to the degree Davis wants.
The Western Conference remains top-heavy with the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder all touting more established, star-studded lineups, and New Orleans would need to improve on last year’s finish by 16 victories to reach the 50-win plateau.
The Pelicans are in position to flirt with double-digit improvement in the win column, but pegging them for a full-blown leap into the Western Conference title conversation would be an exercise in unrealistic goal-setting.
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