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Pelicans’ coach sees Anthony Davis making big leap with Team USA

Aug 29, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT

Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

Monty Williams is one of those coaches who could end up on the hot seat by the end of next season. L1ast year injuries held his New Orleans Pelicans back, but this season most people (myself included) think they should be in the playoff mix, even in the West. Owner Tom Benson put the end to the slow building plan and wanted to win sooner, so a year ago Pelicans got Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson, this summer Omer Asik. If that doesn’t pay off, fair or not Williams could be the scapegoat.

Which means Williams should be thrilled to see the growth in Anthony Davis.

Team USA is loaded with All-NBA guys and some of the game’s elite players, and Davis is proving to be a star among stars. His confidence is growing as fast as his game in this environment, Williams told the Pelicans’ official Web site.

“Anthony is improving right now (due to) experience,” Williams said. “He’s getting more and more experience. He’s understanding that he is a lead dog among a number of alpha dogs. Mentally, he’s taken it up a few notches. I think Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) has been a big part of that, pushing him to be a leader and be ‘the guy’ on the team. When you think about the names on this team, and think about the impact on the game that (Davis) has, you seldom say there’s a better player on the floor than Anthony. That’s got to help him from a confidence standpoint. I think that’s where he’s improving. He’s always working on his game and his shot, his handle, a few more post moves, but mentally he’s getting more confidence. That’s going to help us going forward.”

“The thing I’ve been wowed by is watching guys I’ve never been around work on their game every day,” Williams said. “I’ve watched Steph Curry, James Harden, Klay Thompson, all of our guys, how diligent they are about their games and about their bodies. How they don’t take days off. It’s been impressive to watch, learn and be around these guys… I think that’s had an impact on Anthony, because we’ve talked about what he has to work on to improve, but when you see All-NBA guys and All-Stars who’ve done a lot more than he’s done, out there working their tails off after a two-hour practice, I think it has an impact on him. They all feed off of each other.”

With Asik and Davis up front and former All-Star Holiday at the point, Eric Gordon at the two and hoping Tyreke Evans (or someone) can contribute at the three, this is a playoff team.

But mostly because Davis is a top 5 NBA player who soon will be third best in the league. The Pelicans have the cornerstone star to build a contender around, they have quality role players to go around him, now it’s just a matter of Davis making the leap and the coach fitting all the pieces together.

That’s the pressure on Williams. But he has to watch Davis and think this will make his job a little easier. And safer.

  1. sixerstrong - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    He’s going to be a monster. I love watching generational talents like him mature and improve.

  2. Zammael - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Anthony Davis is like a hybrid of Tim Duncan and a young Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The solid fundamentals of the former, and the lithe athleticism of the latter.

    He doesn’t have the lower body strength of Duncan, yet, or the casual dominance of KAJ, but being 21 years old, Davis is on the way to becoming his own guy.

  3. innovativethinking87 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    Who they leap frogging from a team that made the playoffs last year?

    • gentlewomansquarterly - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Grizzlies. Obviously not a no brainer, but if I had to pick….. one injury could have the Rockets sliding out as well.

      • savvybynature - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Grizzlies were one of the best teams in the league once Marc Gasol came back. I see a lot of people sleeping on them, but I don’t see them missing the playoffs barring significant injury problems.
        I could see the Warrios taking a step back with a new coach and a new system, and two major cogs — Bogut and Curry – with significant injury histories. Rockets are worse but hard to see them missing the playoffs unless Howard gets hurt and/or the refs stop sending Harden to the line every time he intentionally initiates contact with a defender. Portland doesn’t have great depth, so I could see them missing the playoffs if an injury bug bites them.
        Denver will be better and so will New Orleans. The West is just brutal.

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM


  4. saint1997 - Aug 29, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Trade Eric Gordon for Gerald Green and this team improves immensely

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