Anthony Davis: Projecting Potential No. 1 Overall Pick's NBA Career

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 31:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts late in the second half against the Louisville Cardinals during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on March 31, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Kentucky's outstanding freshman Anthony Davis is all but assured of being the No. 1 pick in June's NBA draft.

With that being said, you never know how that will turn out?

On one side of the coin, the likes of Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Allen Iverson were taken No. 1 and became or are on their way to becoming franchise-type players.

Flip the coin over though and the likes of Greg Oden, Kwame Brown, Michael Olowokandi and Joe Smith were also selected No.1 overall and things didn’t quite work out so well for them.

The question though which side of the coin will Davis’ NBA career end up on?

There’s little doubt in my mind that Davis will turn into a good pro.

He was the most dominant player in all of college basketball this season and has the rare ability to dominate the game without ever touching the ball. Davis will become the cornerstone of whatever franchise that gets the privilege of selecting him and should be a solid NBA player from the day he enters the league.

However there’s a difference from being a good or very good pro and becoming that franchise-type player that leads his team to multiple championships, similar to what No. 1 overall picks Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal did throughout their NBA careers.

Physically, Davis is as gifted as any player to come out into the league in the past 20 years. He makes the game look easy and effortless at times and that will translate nicely to the NBA.

Defensively, Davis can guard multiple positions and his length and quickness will make him a very good shot-blocker and rebounder.

Offensively, Davis will be a very tough guard for opposing players. Against bigger defenders, his quickness, ability to run the floor and soft shooting touch make him a difficult matchup. Against quicker defenders, his size, length and finishing ability make him extremely tough to matchup against.

However the question surrounding Davis’ game isn’t about his thin frame as much as it is about his ability to take over and dominate situations. He shot 63 percent from the floor on the season, but late in games, Davis often disappeared or deferred to teammates.

Davis has guard-type skills in a big man’s body, but is he that franchise changer?

I really don’t think so.

He will be an outstanding pro, but unlike the likes of Duncan, O’Neal, LeBron and a few others who made their teams championship contenders almost instantly, I don’t see Davis having that type of NBA impact.

He will make an impact and will be a multi-time All-Star, but at the end of the day Davis isn’t going to turn whichever team that drafts him into an immediate contender.

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MAY 05:  Chris Webber #84 of the Detroit Pistons tries to back down Ben Wallace #3 of the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on May 5, 2007 in Auburn
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

He’s quite possibly the best big man prospect since Duncan came out, but right now if I were to project his future, it may be closer along the lines of Chris Webber, who was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1993 draft.

While I won’t compare the skill sets of the two, they have a similarity in the fact that both were, and are in the case of Davis, very unselfish players.

Webber was a very good player who was the Rookie of the Year, a five-time All-Star and an All-NBA selection on five different occasions.

He also was a player that never really dominated the game in the fashion that his skill set said he should have. He averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game throughout his 15 year NBA career.

Davis will average less points per game and will block significantly more shots, but down the road we may see a lot of similarities between Webber's NBA career and Davis'.

That’s how I project the career of Davis in the NBA.

At the end of the day, don’t think Duncan or O’Neal, but instead think Webber instead and there’s nothing wrong with that as plenty of teams would like to have a Webber-type of big man on their team for the next decade.