Anthony Davis' playing time decreasing

January, 16, 2013

The Unibrow is seeing limited minutes, and it's raising eyebrows in the fantasy world.

While Anthony Davis contributed 10 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks in the New Orleans Hornets' victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, he played only 21 minutes. That's becoming a trend with the No. 1 overall pick. Over his past seven games, Davis is averaging 23 minutes while producing just 9.6 points, 5.0 boards and 1.0 blocks.

So is there a problem? Not for the Hornets, who rave about the 19-year-old's physical talent and work ethic. The simplest answer, forwarded by the Hornets247 blog in this game summary, is that it might be a matter of conditioning. Despite being 6-foot-11, Davis is listed at just 220 pounds. It's certainly possible that coach Monty Williams -- who last week apparently told Davis that the rookie was "hitting the wall" -- doesn't believe he's ready to handle the night-to-night pounding the pros dish out in the paint.

The Hornets may view it as a necessity to take it easy on Davis, but they also have the luxuries of time and supporting talent. Even with the team playing well now, obviously wins and losses in 2012-13 aren't a consideration. Plus, between Ryan Anderson (14 points, 9 rebounds in 29 minutes versus the Sixers), Robin Lopez (8 points, 3 blocks in 23 minutes) and even Jason Smith (6 points, 7 rebounds in 23 minutes), there are other bigs who can play.

Certainly it's possible, and perhaps probable, that in a week or two, Davis is again seeing 30-plus minutes per night. However, if you consider the Hornets' motivations and available resources, I do believe Davis owners should be at least a little concerned.

Looking Back

Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap) missed a second straight game, allowing fantasy owners to more clearly imagine a magical world where Eric Bledsoe is a starting NBA point guard. Living up to our peppermint dreams, Bledsoe was solid across the board against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, a couple of steals and sweet percentages (7 of 12 from the field, 4 of 4 from the line). While Paul apparently is progressing, Bledsoe could see at least one more start, so keep adding him in leagues that allow daily lineup changes. The Los Angeles Clippers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

• Despite averaging 18.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his previous four starts, Amir Johnson came off the bench behind Aaron Gray on Tuesday. Johnson still managed 15 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets. With Johnson being 6-foot-9, it'd be a lot to expect for him to hang with Brook Lopez for 40 minutes. Look for a similar approach on Wednesday, when the Toronto Raptors face Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls.

• Speaking of the Raptors, Kyle Lowry owners may not realize their good fortune. Lowry sprained his left ankle in the first half against the Nets and wasn't expected to return. But Lowry not only got back in, he ended up scoring 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. And nine of those 19 came in the final minute of play (on two 3-pointers and three free throws after Lowry was fouled on while taking another trey).

Looking Ahead

Eric Gordon will be a game-time decision when the Hornets visit the Boston Celtics. Gordon hasn't played in back-to-back games since returning from his knee injury, but considering his effectiveness in 32 minutes against the Sixers on Tuesday (19 points on 7 of 13 shooting), now could be the time.

• Be sure to glance at the Atlanta Hawks' box score tonight, because coach Larry Drew has promised lineup changes for his reeling club. While it's tough to imagine a switch the Hawks could make that would have fantasy impact, this team needs to do something. After a 20-10 start, the Hawks have dropped six of seven, capped by a brutal 97-58 beatdown in Chicago on Monday. On Wednesday, the Hawks visit the Nets, who have won seven straight.



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