The True Dominance of the New Orleans Frontcourt

The Pelicans frontcourt is putting up historic numbers, and leading their beaten up team to wins.

Before the season started you would've heard a lot of skepticism around the New Orleans frontcourt. National media members were pumping out articles and podcasts, saying the two bigs in NOLA "just wouldn't fit together" because "they occupy the same spots on the court" and "they weren't used to not being the number one guy." But as evidenced from last season, and further proven this season, this is so far from the truth that it is laughable. In fact, as of right now, the Pelicans duo is doing something historic.

Their combined scoring numbers of 57.3 (28.9 for Boogie; 28.4 for Anthony Davis) are the highest ever from two frontcourt members (obviously excluding Wilt and co.). They are also second to any duo ever, just behind Shaq and Kobe in the 2002-2003 season. But their pure volume isn't what's impressive here. Their efficiency is otherworldly as well. 

Anthony Davis (65.5 TS%) and Demarcus Cousins (59.5 TS%) absolutely blow the two other 55+ ppg duos out of the water. Shaq (60.2 TS%) and Kobe (55.0 TS%) were relatively efficient, but the duo of Alex English (57.0 TS%) and Kiki Vandeweghe (61.8 TS%) in 83-84 were much closer, while still putting up 55.8 PPG in those insane Denver offenses of the 1980s. 

Of all the other 50 ppg duos in NBA history (including Bob Pettit and Cliff Hagan in 58-59; Lou Hudson and Pistol Pete in 72-73; Jordan and Pippen in the 90s; Durant and Westbrook in the 2010s) nobody else reaches the pure scoring volume as well as the efficiency that the two NOLA big men have reached so far together. 

But their scoring isn't the only impressive thing. They are also rebounding at an astronomical rate as well. Their combined 26.4 rebounds per game combined are the highest of any duo since Dennis Rodman and David Robinson were paired up for the 94-95 season, where they averaged a combined 27.6 RPG (mostly off the back of Rodman though). 

With great passing from the duo (8.4 assists per game) as well as elite defense from the duo (both with defensive ratings of under 100; both top 10 in defensive win shares with Boogie leading the league; as well as Boogie being third in defensive box plus/minus), they are showing that they are at the very least the second best duo in the entire league behind only the MVP pairing in Golden State. But even these numbers don't do them justice since Anthony Davis' are deflated. 

If you exclude the game against Portland where Anthony Davis only played 5 minutes due to injury, his numbers jump across the board. He goes from averaging 28.4 points per game, 12.4 rebounds per game, and 2.6 assists per game, to averaging 31.3 points per game, 14.1 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game on the absolutely ridiculous shooting percentages of 57-41-79. 

This makes the Pelicans frontcourt the highest scoring duo (60.2; only to ever reach over 60 ppg) in NBA history (still excluding Wilt and co.), the highest rebounding duo (27.7) since Wilt and Bill Russell were grabbing as many rebounds by themselves, the highest assisting front court (8.6) since Wilt averaged that many solo in 67-68, and the most efficient front court ever. 

The highest scoring duo in NBA, the highest rebounding duo in NBA history, the highest assisting frontcourt in NBA history, and the most efficient frontcourt in NBA history. But hey, they occupy the same spots on the floor so it won't work, right?

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