Is this really fair? I think we all know who will be Rookie of the Year once the season is over. Anthony Davis is the consensus choice for ROY and here is why.
I was not on the Davis bandwagon. I didn’t think he was that good, even though he was an obvious game-changer in his only season at the University of Kentucky. I mean the dude averaged nearly five blocks per game, that’s insane. He didn’t need to score or get touches. Simply, he just seemed to enjoy playing basketball.
But here is where my opinion changed about Davis.
Once Blake Griffin injured his knee and Davis was selected to take his spot, I was thinking “this is his opportunity to represent his country and show what he can do.” Though he didn’t play as much I wanted him to, or as much as he liked, Davis showed that he wanted to learn just as bad as he wanted to play. Being around Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Chris Paul and other did Davis wonders, even though they pulled some pranks on the young kid. He always kept his cool and went along with it. When sitting on the bench, he was always talking to someone, and I can guarantee you that it wasn’t about post-game plans. His willingness to learn will serve him greatly once he enters training camp with the New Orleans Hornets and I am excited to see him play.
Defensively, he will be great. Even though he played against sub-par competition in the Olympics, Davis showed ELITE athleticism and shot-blocking ability. I compared him to Kevin Garnett. Garnett has very little offensive skill when he entered the league, but he was a solid defensive player because of his athleticism and length. Defensive is about willingness, not talent. If you are willing to learn how to play defense, then you will be a good defender. Of course it helps to jump out of the gym, too.
Like I said, he is raw offensively. The only thing he can consistently on offense is catch alley-oops. He has an inconsistent mid-range jumper and a very small repertoire of post-moves. He will need to develop over time so he doesn’t become the “next” Tyson Chandler. No knock on Chandler, I just think that Davis’ ceiling and ability is a lot higher than Chandler’s when he entered the league. I think if he averages between 10-12 points and 8-10 rebounds per game that would be solid.
As far as “franchise” guy, I don’t see it, yet. Don’t trip; this isn’t LeBron, Dwyane Wade or Dwight Howard. It took LeBron two years to reach “star-status”, took Wade a couple years, too. While Howard is a monster, what has he done in his career besides take his team to the NBA Finals in 2009 only to get smashed by Kobe Bryant, a man who welcomed Howard to the league by doing this to him (Watch Footage)?
By the way, I don’t take credit for that footage.
I think if Davis is given three years to develop, skill(s)-wise and physically, he could become a pillar on any team. Would I take him over Andrew Bynum right now? Eh, probably not. Even though I don’t like Bynum’s attitude, I would still take Bynum over Davis because he is better offensively and is more of a defensive presence than Davis. I think Davis will block some shots, but I don’t think he will be blocking shots at a rate of nearly five per game.
He will be fun to watch, there’s no question about that but he isn’t flaw-less. He will go through stretches where he might not play well at all. His weaknesses will get exposed on both ends of the floor, but let’s remember that these are indeed the best players in the world.