NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis was down, a bit upset the past few weeks when he missed out on becoming an All-Star.
He moved on, though, putting the near-miss behind him.
Turns out, he should have held out hope.
Friday afternoon, newly christened NBA commissioner Adam Silver named Davis, the Pelicans’ second-year forward, as an injury replacement for the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant.
Davis will play in the hometown All-Star game after all.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Davis said prior to New Orleans’ game against Minnesota. “I’m excited to play in the game. Like Coach said, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I’m glad they chose me to represent the Pelicans and New Orleans.”
Davis averages 3.3 blocks per game – tops in the NBA – as well as 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.
A little more than halfway through his sophomore campaign, he’s on pace to become the first player in an entire NBA season since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
He’s also learning he can change his teammates' personal schedules.
“I was actually just going to relax here,” guard Darius Miller said. “I just wasn’t going to many of the events, really. Now I might have to go to the All-Star game.”
Miller is the lone player on the team who played with Davis in college at Kentucky. While it was hard to tell in Davis’ one year just how good he could be, Miller said he’s getting a chance to shine in the NBA.
“You could tell he was really talented when he came to UK,” Miller said. “But we had a pretty stacked team so he didn’t get to show everything that he could do. Now he’s getting the chance to everybody what he’s capable of. He continues to get better.”
Meanwhile, coach Monty Williams was more than happy to pass along the news to his young pupil a week before All-Star weekend.
“After first telling him that he didn’t make it, I can’t express how happy I am for him,” Williams said. “He thought I was joking when I told him. He was speechless, and laughing, and I hope he enjoys it.”