You may not see it now, or want to believe it but Anthony Davis is the new Kevin Garnett.
By the time Davis is done he will have destroyed Garnett’s numbers but this is where their careers will be similar– loyalty.
As good as Garnett was in his heyday his Minnesota Timberwolves teams always seemed destined for failure but not for a lack of effort from their superstar. The supporting cast surrounding him was average at best and while many promises were made by the front office it never materialized on the court.
Almost 20 years later there is another “what have you done” question heading towards Davis. Davis recently inked a 5yr/$145 million contract on the heels of the New Orleans Pelicans playoff run two seasons ago that may come back to haunt him as early as next season. The Pelicans are playing well below expectations, and with Davis missing a chunk of the year the team went in a downward spiral. To make matters worse half his teammates were sitting next to him in street clothes themselves.
If you were to check the Pelicans roster you could understand why Davis was quick to sign the extension. The backcourt was solid with players such as Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon. Holiday was the former All Star that was ready to form one heck of an inside/outside combo with Davis but injuries have robbed the duo of any real glimpse of what they could become. Gordon has that sweet perimeter game that fits well with Davis but their time on the floor was limited. There was other talent mixed in with Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik, and Ryan Anderson and you can see why the future looked bright for the Pelicans but nothing is ever as it seems.
At their current pace the Pelicans will see the lottery again next year, there offseason was a disaster. Davis should be a top draw for free agents but they all have passed on a chance to play with “The Brow”. Anderson is gone, Gordon departed for Houston and what they got in return is a rookie in Buddy Hield.
This is similar to Garnett and his Timberwolves teams as they were right on the cusp of greatness but could never get over that hump. Garnett was not alone as he did have the services of a great supporting cast in Wally Szczerbiak, Terrell Brandon, Stephon Marbury, Sam Cassell, Latrell Sprewell and Malik Sealy. I wonder how Davis feels now about inking that new deal? Does he wish that he waited or does he feel like he did the right thing?
Loyalty is a strong word, but in sports it comes with a price tag. Maybe it stops you from winning, or opens up a bigger market for you in terms of fans and advertisement. You just have to know what you are getting yourself into when you decide to take that route.
Davis is now at that crossroads, the same crossroad Garnett was standing in before him, listening to the front office give promises about the players they wanted to bring in, plans for the community and the value of friendship and loyalty.
We don’t know the mind-state of Garnett back then but he stayed, collected the biggest paycheck at that time in the NBA, lost games, teammates, coaches and himself in the process because of the word “loyalty”.
Once he decided enough was enough he left, won a ring and well you know the rest. Now how long of a wait does Davis have to do until he realizes the same thing Garnett did?
Loyalty only gets you so far in sports then you must rely on the only thing that matters– yourself.