Anthony Davis: Breaking Down the Young Phenom's Game
With both Conference Finals currently underway, the NBA’s postseason continues to press on for the four teams that remain.
However, for those teams that fell short of the postseason, few opportunities for optimism have presented themselves since the regular season ended.
All that could change this week.
With the NBA draft lottery set to be held Wednesday night, teams that missed the playoffs can step up the healing process by learning their draft positions and, soon after, which prospects could be available when their team is on the clock.
While the Charlotte Bobcats have the highest chances of receiving the No. 1 overall pick, the draft lottery has demonstrated its unpredictability in the past.
What is more certain, however, is the player whose name will be called with the first overall pick.
Kentucky’s Anthony Davis has gone from winning the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship as a freshman to being selected for a chance to play in this summer’s Olympic Games.
And soon the 6’10” 19-year-old will know which team might select him with the first overall pick in the NBA draft.
But what makes the young phenom such a sure bet as the first pick?
For starters, the freshman averaged a double-double during his lone season at Kentucky.
Davis began the season with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the Wildcats’ first game, in what would be the first of 17 double-doubles leading up to the NCAA tournament. Davis finished the season averaging 14.2 ppg and 10.4 rpg, but what may impress scouts the most has to do with his incredible length.
At 6’10” and with a wingspan of nearly 7'4", Davis’ length may be the part of his game that could help the team that receives the No. 1 overall pick erase the less-than-ideal memories from last season.
Davis averaged more than four blocks per game for the Wildcats last season and had seven games in which he recorded seven or more blocks.
Not bad for a player who didn’t reach his current height until his final year of high school.
Besides his length, other areas of Davis’ game that have aided his No. 1 draft pick projection include the high motor he plays with and his intelligence while on the court.
From January 7th to March 15th, Davis only had two games in which he had more than one turnover. That stretch includes three games against a Florida team that was nationally ranked.
However, even the projected No. 1 overall pick’s game has areas in which improvement is needed.
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Since Davis grew over half a foot between his final years of high school, his strength may be an area in which focus is needed, especially once he reaches the NBA level. At 220 pounds, Davis could have difficulty matching up with some of the league’s power forwards and centers.
Davis also shot just over 70 percent from the free-throw line last season. He also had eight games, including during the NCAA tournament, in which his field-goal percentage was less than 50 percent.
However, these minor areas in need of improvement are not likely to scare off many scouts.
Davis’ six-point, 16-rebound performance against Kansas in last season’s NCAA Championship game demonstrates the impact he can have on a game even while making just one of 10 field goals attempted.
While the NBA draft can make or break not only the careers of general managers across the league, but also the futures of teams drafting, a player such as Davis may be a surefire way for everyone in an organization to discover success in the near future.
Teams such as the Charlotte Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets, two of the four teams with the highest chances of receiving the first overall pick, ranked in the bottom 10 in the league in rebounding last season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, another team with high chances of receiving the No. 1 pick, ranked near the bottom of the league in blocks per game.
That means that three of the four teams with the best chances of drafting at No. 1 overall could immediately enjoy the skill set that Davis brings with him.
While Davis’ position in the NBA may still be up for debate, his chances of finding success in the league are a bit more certain.
Although he may be competing with players who have nearly 40 pounds on him, his performances from his only season at the collegiate level have given teams that missed the postseason an opportunity to forget about how the regular season ended—and hope that he becomes the last No. 1 overall draft decision that their team has to make.
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