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This year will be only Anthony Davis’ fifth of his NBA career, but it’s already something of an attempt at a comeback year. Davis was plagued by injuries and struggled to advance his game under new coach Alvin Gentry last season. The Pelicans’ defense had problems well beyond Davis, but for a player of Davis’ high profile, more is expected on that end.

Davis had kneecap surgery at the end of the season, which caused him to miss the Olympics for Team USA this summer. However, there is good news on that front, as Pelicans GM Dell Demps told ticket holders this week that the star big man will be under no restrictions going into the season.

So that’s good news. It’s easy to say that this season is big for Davis, but really, it’s much bigger for the Pelicans. They lost Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson in free agency and all their acquisitions were solid role players but low-production players. The Pelicans have Davis under contract through 2020, but if things start to turn downhill, the pressure will start to percolate. No one wants Davis to wind up as another iteration of Kevin Garnett in Minnesota.

Anthony Davis is ready to go to start the season. USATSI

Speaking of Minnesota, Davis suddenly has a player that everyone is comparing him to. Despite Davis being four years older, already people are comparing him to Karl-Anthony Towns, coming off Towns’ historic rookie season. Davis was heralded as a phenom, MVP-caliber player even last season. This year he needs to stay healthy, help the defense be at least decent, and continue his brilliant multi-faceted offensive production.

The Pelicans have to help him get there.


Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Pelicans center Anthony Davis will have no restrictions to start the season