METAIRIE, La. — Seventy-two missed games over the span of five seasons have provided Anthony Davis plenty of time to sharpen his eye for the NBA game. But for a player just entering the peak of his playing career, it’s hard to shake the sense of monotony that comes with roughly 180 hours of sitting on the bench, watching your teammates.
“It can get pretty boring just sitting on the bench, getting up for timeouts, sitting right back down,” he said.
So since last season, when he missed a career-high 21 games, including the Pelicans’ final 14, he says he’s made an effort to be more of an active participant in the ongoing courtside maneuverings by Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff.
For instance, amid the Pelicans’ surprising 124-122 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, Davis saw Tyreke Evans attempting to use a Euro step, one of the guard’s go-to moves as he ran through the paint.
“He didn’t have to go to it yesterday because they was sitting on it,” Davis said.
So he made a suggestion.
“Just go straight-line to the basket,” Davis told Evans. “You’ll get an easy layup.”
“Coach tried to tell Terrence [Jones] to get a screen,” Davis said, “but we were yelling, ‘Coach! Coach! Don’t screen!’”
Davis said he never tries to undercut the staff with his commentary, but he does enjoy playing assistant — to an extent.
“That doesn’t mean I’m gonna get into coaching,” he said with a laugh. “You see all the stress it brings on Coach. I can’t. But I love to help out the team even when I’m not playing.”
Gentry seems to appreciate having his star player’s support.
“He does it even more when he’s not playing, which I think is good,” Gentry said. “He’s speaking up more. And I think that’s just a process of going through it and feeling more comfortable doing it. I think the guys have a ton of respect for him, so it’s something that I think you’ll see continue to grow.”
Having missed just four games and parts of eight more this season, the 23-year-old hopes his coaching gig remains on a part-time basis.
“It’s fun,” Davis said, “but it’s better when I’m on the floor.”