Anthony Davis: Comparing Kentucky Big Man to Recent Top NBA Draft Picks

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJune 8, 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

Anthony Davis is one of the most unique draft prospects in NBA history.

With his never-ending wingspan, advanced perimeter skills, elite shot-blocking ability, intense competitive fire, and of course, that magnificent unibrow, Davis doesn't quite resemble any of the past No. 1 overall picks.

That said, by looking at the careers of recent big men who have been drafted with the first pick, we can gain some perspective on how Davis' game will translate to the NBA, and establish some realistic rookie expectations for the Kentucky product.

Here's how Davis compares to the most recent big men to be drafted with the No. 1 overall pick.


Blake Griffin

The Los Angeles Clippers drafted the high-flying Griffin first overall in 2009 after his stellar sophomore season at Oklahoma.

Griffin was a monster with the Sooners, putting up 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 65.4 percent from the field as a sophomore. Those numbers dwarf Davis' freshman stats of 14.2 points (on 62.3 percent shooting) and 10.4 rebounds per game.

Of course, the two had different roles in college. While the Sooners needed big points from Griffin every night, the supremely talented Wildcats only asked a little of Davis offensively. Instead, they wanted him to focus his energy on defense, where he swatted a ridiculous 4.7 shots per game. Griffin, on the other hand, only blocked 69 shots in 68 career college games.

The two also differ greatly in their pre-draft measurements. While they are both right around 6'10," Davis' wingspan of 7'7.5" and standing reach of 9'0" make Griffin's arms (6'11.25" wingspan, 8'9" standing reach) look tiny. The skinny Davis also weighed in at 222 pounds—26 pounds lighter than Griffin, whose powerful frame has helped him reach great success in the NBA.

Davis will certainly need to add some muscle to survive the rigors of an NBA season, but given his intense work ethic, I doubt that will be an issue.

The more important thing for him is to refine his post moves. Although Griffin averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds last season, his unpolished skill set in the post has prevented him from reaching his full potential.

If Davis can master a couple go-to moves in the paint, he will set himself up to surpass Griffin within a few years.


Greg Oden

And now for the comparison that no New Orleans Hornets fan wants to see.

Like Davis, Oden was seen as the next great big man to enter the NBA. His measurements (7'0" tall, 257 pounds, 7'4.25" wingspan, 9'4" standing reach) were astounding. His freshman stats of 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.3 blocks per game and 61.1 percent shooting from the field were also ideal.

With his NBA-ready body, and his dominance in his lone season at Ohio State, Oden was the total package. Unfortunately, we all know how this one turned out.

Oden's body simply defied human logic, and it didn't take long for him to break down.

In September of his rookie season, Oden had his first microfracture surgery on his right knee. He has since had two more microfracture surgeries, and he's played in just 82 career games since being drafted in 2007.

I sincerely hope Davis has a long and healthy career, but given his unique eight-inch growth spurt and slim frame, I wouldn't be surprised if he broke down like Oden.

Hopefully it won't happen, but an injury-riddled career could be in Davis' future.