The Pelicans, the mostly abandoned side project of the New Orleans Saints organization, host the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday evening. Under normal circumstances this would make for a promising matchup—LeBron James versus Anthony Davis! Superstars collide! Under another set of perfectly reasonable circumstances, this would still be an interesting event—LeBron James and Anthony Davis take on Davis’s former team, now led by LeBron’s former teammates! Neat!
What we’ve got instead, in our used diaper of a universe—in which the Pelicans spent a month pretending to consider trading Anthony Davis in order to troll the Lakers, while meanwhile keeping their sights set on a future of pretending Jaylen Brown is so much better a prize than what was being offered that this fucking farce of a stretch run is totally worth it—is a situation where Davis is stuck on the crummy, directionless Pelicans, and pretends to want to play, and the Pelicans pretend to commit to playing him.
But even that would be acceptable, for the delicious awkwardness of watching LeBron drag his unwanted teammates to New Orleans to share a court with the guy for whom he tried to ship them all away, himself playing out the gloomy, hideous end of a now-spectacularly busted marriage. Stupid and ugly and embarrassing for everyone involved, but in a fun way. Except:
Davis has played both ends of five back-to-back sets this season. He played 77 total minutes across two home games on November 16 and 17; he played 76 minutes across a road-and-home set on December 2 and 3; a week later he played 63 minutes on a dreaded road back-to-back; he played a whopping 82 minutes across a home back-to-back on December 28 and 29; and just two weeks ago, post-trade demand, he played 59 minutes in a home-and-road set.
Last night, at Indiana, Davis played just under 20 minutes of basketball. He played more minutes in either game of that late-December back-to-back than he’s played in New Orleans’s last two games combined. It’s fine for him to sit, insofar as every option now sucks incredibly huge chunks of shit, but please call it something other than rest. Anthony Davis: DNP—Sparing Everyone The Humiliation.