Anthony Davis – PF – 6’10, 222 lbs.
When you win the NBA Draft Lottery in a year when a big man like Anthony Davis is available, you can’t help but dream about the limitless possibilities and future ahead, as I’m sure Hornets management and fans have been doing for the last month. Bigs with the defensive presence of Davis are among the most valuable commodities in basketball. Bigs with the defensive impact and all around potential of Anthony Davis are spoken about in “once in a generation talent” kind of conversations.
So where do we begin?
The best way to describe Davis’ body is long. He’s lanky in a non-awkward kind of way (sorry, Chris Bosh) and he uses that size and length to great advantage on the defensive end, which is more impressive when you consider that he’s only actually been a “big” for a few years (he was a 6-foot-3 guard three or four years ago).
If a ball goes up, whether it’s a tip, an opposing player’s shot, a rebound or an alley-oop, you can almost just assume that Anthony Davis is going to grab it. That’s what you get when you combine great length with natural athleticism and impeccable timing. That timing is best demonstrated on the defensive side of the floor, where the 19-year-old Davis has made watching him defend a thing of beauty, a work of art. He doesn’t so much block or “swat” shots as much as he scoops them, or rather, plucks them from mid-air the way us mere mortals pick apples off a tree.
His shot-blocking should be among the best in the league, if not second to none. His rebounding numbers should be in the double figures early in his career. His help defense and one-on-one defense already look beyond NBA-ready, and he’s defensively versatile enough to guard multiple positions.
All of those assets Davis possesses are already known. What’s mind-boggling and beautifully haunting is thinking about what he can be as his offensive game continues to develop and click. In case you weren’t aware, the ceiling is high on that end of the floor, as well.
Because he was groomed as a guard, Davis handles the ball very well for a big man and sees the floor well on the offensive end. He runs the floor like a gazelle and can take more immobile bigs off of the dribble. Those traits alone should make the power forward at least offensively competent in the NBA. Add a slowly improving face-up game and a jumper with underrated range, and you have a player who will be pretty tough to stop in virtually every facet of the game.
The most obvious flaw in Davis’ game, and the part of his game that might make or break just how special of a career he has, is his work in the post. Or rather — his lack of work in the post. When he’s not finishing an alley-oop or just dunking all over someone, Davis leaves much to be desired down low.
At this point, I don’t think anyone doubts the unibrow-powered big man’s work ethic and motor, so you would have to assume that he can develop at least a respectable post repertoire and overall offensive game. If he can establish something more than that on the offensive end, then the Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett comparisons, while massive, may not be far off.