Anthony Davis: Kentucky Star Will Transform Hornets into a Strong Defensive Team

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IJune 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 29:  Owner of the New Orleans Hornets Tom Benson introduces first pick in the 2012 NBA draft Antony Davis to the media at the New Orleans Arena on June 29, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Top draft pick Anthony Davis will transform the New Orleans Hornets into a much better defensive team next season, which will allow them to make the playoffs and take another step in becoming a legitimate NBA Finals contender.

When Kevin Garnett was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2008, he immediately made them a much tougher team to play against and showed his teammates the importance of playing great team defense.

Davis can have a similar kind of impact with the Hornets because of his intensity and talent at the defensive end of the floor.

When you see a player give so much effort and expend so much energy on defense, it's contagious. If Davis is going to give up his body and dedicate himself to improving as a one-on-one defender, then his teammates will too.

He will add a plethora of skills to the Hornets and will immediately become their best all-around player.

Anthony Davis: Next Tim Duncan. No doubt about his shotblocking instinct, untapped offensive skill, high character, work ethic, leadership.

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 28, 2012

Defense and rebounding win championships in the NBA regardless of what the popular method of success is at the time.

The Hornets weren't atrocious at the defensive end of the floor last season, but there certainly is plenty of room for improvement. Check out some key defensive stats for the Hornets last season.

Stat League Rank
Rebounds/Game 24th
Opponents FG% 13th
Blocks/Game 21st
Steals/Game 21st
Opponents Turnovers/Game 23rd

Davis will help the Hornets improve in each of the above categories. His shot blocking ability will bail out guards who get beat on the perimeter. His rebounding will help ignite the fast break, where Gordon and rookie Austin Rivers can punish teams with their athleticism.

Just the threat of Davis' shot blocking talent will prevent players from driving to the basket, and as a result, they will settle for jump shots.

To compete in the Western Conference, the Hornets needed to get stronger in the frontcourt. Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers all have talented big men, and for New Orleans to compete against these contenders, they had to add an impact forward/center in this draft.

Defense wins championships, and Davis will be able to lead the Hornets back to the playoffs next season as a seventh or eighth seed because of his interior defense and impressive rebounding skills.