Today’s focus is on the projected #1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft: Anthony Davis. Come read his profile and how I project him to turn out at the NBA level.Anthony Davis is projected to be the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He spent one season at the University of Kentucky where he averaged 14.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.4 stlpg, 4.7 blkpg, and 1 tpg. He played an average of 32.0 mpg and had a career high of 28 points (against Vanderbilt), 18 rebounds (against Chattanooga), and eight blocks (against South Carolina). Davis’ offensive game is still a work-in-progress. He showed stints this season of a developing offensive game, but he is still very raw in that area. Defensively is where Davis will make his money early on in his career. He has excellent timing and instinct for blocking shots. Not only does he block shots, but he manages to keep the ball in-bounds while blocking the shot to one of his teammates. That’s something Bill Russell used to do. He will more than likely have to play the power forward spot at the next level, although he has tremendous length and could get away with playing some center.
Offense: Davis scored the majority of his points on alley-oops or dunks. He hit three three-pointers on the season (3-20) and I don’t see him playing anywhere outside of 17-ft from the basket for his career. I would like to see him develop a mid-range jump shot like Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan. I think this kid is the second-coming of Garnett. Garnett had extreme length and defensive-ability when he entered the league. While Davis posted a solid field-goal percentage (62.3%), he rarely hit any jump shots. He was a 70.9% shooter from the free-throw line, so he can improve from there. He attempted 8.4 field-goals per game, connecting on 5.3 per game. He attempted 5.1 free-throws per game. According to draftexpress.com, Davis posted a Player Efficiency Rating of 35.1 and an Efficiency Rating of 26.1.
Rebounding: Davis has a very good nose for the ball. I wouldn’t say that he is a “great” rebounder, but he understands the importance of putting a body on his man and he can pursue the ball like none other. His athleticism is 75% of the reason as to why he grabs so many rebounds. I think he could average 7-9 rebounds per game as a rookie. He is a B+ – A- rebounder.
Running the Floor: Davis runs the floor like a gazelle. He has a high-motor and wants to beat his man down the floor every single time. He also has shown the ability to finish on the break.
Athleticism and Defense: We all know how athletic Davis is, but it’s the way that he uses his athleticism that separates him from a lot of other prospects. On defense, he doesn’t let the offensive player get his body into his. Instead Davis is able to avoid the offensive player while still altering or blocking the shot. He will be a good defender at the next level, no questions about it. But let’s remember that NBA veterans are a little craftier than college players.
Strength: Ok, so if you haven’t seen Davis, he is a string-bean. Long and skinny, Davis will need to put on some muscle or his body will wear down over the course of an NBA season. He showed the inability to back-down a lot of college post-players because he doesn’t have the strength necessary to do it. If he is willing to spend a few hours in the weight-room or yoga-room each day, to put on 10-15 pounds of muscle, then he will be in a good place once the season starts.
Advanced Offensive-Game: I understand that his field-goal percentage was sky-high, but his offensive game needs serious improvement. We are looking at a player that could have the defensive-impact of Dwight Howard, either this year or in a couple of years. But his offensive game is years behind his defense. He needs to get in the gym with an NBA trainer and work on his offensive skills. Add a mid-range jumper and a few post-moves that you will feel comfortable going to when the season starts. Get two moves and work on counters (counter-moves) to those moves so you can keep the defense guessing.
Prognosis: There is certainly a lot of hype surrounding Davis. Perhaps this might be the best #1 pick since LeBron James. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. He still has a ways to go before he becomes a difference-maker, but he has all the tools. I could see this kid becoming the next Kevin Garnett. He might not have the intensity and emotion that Garnett displays publicly but they are similar players. Garnett developed the ability to guard every position on the floor when he entered the prime of his career and I think Davis could develop into that type of player. Also, Garnett didn’t have much of an offensive-game when he came into the league but developed into one of the best pick-and-pop and mid-range jump-shooters of his position. Just watch some of the highlights from Garnett’s early days; He couldn’t hit a jump shot. And Garnett turned-out to be a franchise player.