• Since DeMarcus Cousins went down, Anthony Davis has been incredible. But does he deserve to be a top contender for MVP?
By Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver
February 28, 2018

In the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discuss Anthony Davis's insane numbers since losing teammate DeMarcus Cousins and gauge how much MVP consideration 'The Brow' should be getting.

Check out the full episode here and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. (The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity).

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Andrew Sharp: On the basketball internet today, everybody is now paying respect to Anthony Davis. But to me, over the last five games he has been absurd. Like Friday night, he had 45 and 17 with 5 blocks and 5 steals.

It's just outta control what he has been doing since Boogie went down and basically he is breathing life into the Pelicans season. But watching him against Giannis was really eye-opening man. Because a lot of their offense has been coming from Jrue Holiday, who also has been excellent over the last week or so—but he was just head-to-head, mano-y-mano with Giannis and Anthony Davis was the better player.

It was just a good reminder of how outrageous he really is and part of me wished that he was in the East and that he'd been in the East the last few years because I feel like he would have won a playoff series or two and it kind of would have been a bigger deal. He's kind of suffocated out in the West. It's just a good reminder that he is basically from another planet.

Ben Golliver: Like clock-work, late February, early March, all the teams come out of the woodwork with the 'our guy is in the MVP conversation.' We have seen it with Damian Lillard in Portland. We saw Michael Malone nominate Nikola Jokic and Gregg Popovich walked by and called BS in front of reporters making everyone laugh. This is an annual ritual where all right we have to fill out the top five ballots so let's all just throw our candidates forward. Anthony Davis deserves to be in the top five right now to me.

Sharp: No question.

Golliver: Similar record to the Bucks, playing in a tougher conference, probably facing more adversity losing Cousins and having less help. The numbers are out of control and the consistency factor here since Cousins went down has been really impressive. To do that crazy 40-15 line you mentioned earlier like once or twice is one thing but Davis is putting up tons of 40-point games, he's playing 40-plus minutes consistently, you kind of worry about that for his long-term perspective and how much they are relying upon on him. But he's in that category where you have to give him some MVP love because of the sheer effort that is involved.

Sharp: His two-way value is pretty insane. As far as his MVP case, he's not going to win it but I was watching that game against Giannis and was thinking the West is super close right now and if the Pelicans were somehow to get to the 5th or 4th seed, he would not only be in the mix for MVP but he would deserve a lot of first-place votes. Harden's case, we will probably argue about it in a few weeks, is kind of unimpeachable right now—but Anthony Davis I think might be as good or better as a player.

Golliver: Oh come on. Who is having a better season this year? To me it is Harden. Everything that he is doing is translating into wins. I pinned you down on this a week or two ago, and you said Harden deserves MVP love and I said no he deserves the MVP and you said what is the difference then I said exactly he needs to be the MVP. So don’t try to wiggle out of this right now.

Sharp: Harden is very good. One thing I like about watching the Pelicans is it’s like watching a middle school basketball team where one player is clearly going to be making varsity one day and they just throw it to him over and over again. That’s what he has been doing and making it work. I think if you put him in another environment he would be more dominant.

Golliver: Oh definitely. Put him in any other context he would be more dominant.

Sharp: In a vacuum talent-wise, Anthony Davis is up there with everybody. I would say maybe Steph and LeBron are on a different level but he is in the conversation with KD.

Golliver: No don’t do that. Don’t overreact. He’s like 6th or 7th in the NBA overall but if he wins a playoff series we are going to bump him up. I still feel like we have to give the nod to a guy like Harden in this conversation head-to-head.

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