Anthony Davis: No. 1 Pick Is Cornerstone for Rapid Rebuilding in New Orleans
Anthony Davis is the second coming of (insert iconic power forward's name here). He is supremely talented, a relentless worker and a born winner. In short, the former Wildcat is everything you could ask for in a No. 1 overall pick.
The New Orleans Hornets didn't have any doubt who they were taking at No. 1. They won 21 games last year. There isn't a whole lot they didn't need. Adding Davis was a no-brainer, but their astute observations began with the No. 10 pick.
Davis, as good as he is, isn't a player who will win a game with a 40-point scoring effort. He needs help despite his ability to make an impact on every play in the game. He has that rare ability to make his entire team better. His play raises the emotional and physical levels of every other player on the court.
What grade do you give New Orleans' selection of Austin Rivers?
Very few players have this quality.
It often separates a very good player (Shaquille O'Neal) from the transcendent (Tim Duncan). That's why the Hornets' other draft selections (No. 10 and 46) were just as vital to their success as it was to Davis' transition into the NBA.
Davis is used to playing with high-caliber players. He was Kentucky's most important player last season, but his team featured five other NBA draft selections. He learned to assimilate himself into a team-based concept, and the basketball world got a chance to see one of basketball's most unselfish superstars.
Surrounding Davis with a sharpshooter (Austin Rivers) and his former teammate/future glue guy (Darius Miller) was ideal. Rivers seems genuinely happy to take his talents to the Bayou, and Miller's familiarity with Davis will pay dividends.
Add these three players to Eric Gordon (if he re-signs), and the Hornets may be competitive earlier than anticipated.
Who would have made more sense at No. 46?
Davis is the backbone of New Orleans' rebuilding effort, but not just because of his talent. He's efficient (62 percent from the floor last year), long (7'5'' wingspan) and a proven winner. The Hornets didn't just take this year's best talent, but they took the player most suited to lead a future-championship squad.
With Rivers' high-volume scoring, Gordon's budding All-Star game and Miller's energetic presence off the bench, the Hornets have a solid supporting cast for their young superstar. As his low-post repertoire develops, he will command even more attention and the supporting cast will look even better.
Surrounding a star isn't always easy, but the Hornets nailed it. Davis provides so many different things on his own, but Dell Demps selected players who provide things that he can't.
Look for the Hornets to contend in the Western Conference within five years. I think Davis is that good and, if you haven't noticed, the Hornets' cupboard is no longer bare otherwise.
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