US Olympic Basketball Team: Why Anthony Davis' Injury Is Much Ado About Nothing

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIJuly 2, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JUNE 29:  Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis and Head coach Monty Williams of the New Orleans Hornets speak to the media at the New Orleans Arena on June 29, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Davis was the first overall pick and Rivers the 10th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Anthony Davis' ankle injury during a New Orleans Hornets workout may keep him off the U.S. Olympic Basketball team, but the injury is meaningless for Team USA, as Davis would not have competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London even if he were healthy.

While the injury may raise concern for the Hornets, it has little bearing on the U.S. Olympic team, and a lot of fuss is being made about nothing.

Davis is not ready to take on the best basketball players in the world right now. While he played well with Kentucky and was the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, this kid has yet to step on an NBA court.

He has yet to play in a summer league game or work out in training camp, let alone play an actual game in the NBA. The game is very different in the pros, and he has yet to experience that.

Without playing a single minute in the NBA, he would struggle in the Olympic Games. There is a steep learning curve when going from college to the pros, and forcing Davis to battle against the best big men in the world would be idiotic.

We've seen college greats struggle in the Olympics before. Both Christian Laettner and Emeka Okafor proved that big men are not ready for international basketball coming right out of college.

Laettner was the only college kid on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Basketball team dubbed the "Dream Team." With 11 Hall of Famers on the roster (Laettner being the only one who hasn't made the HOF), the team was dominant.

However, the Duke star, who was taken third overall in the 1992 NBA draft, struggled in the games, posting a poor stat line of 4.8 PPG, 2.5 RPG and just 45 percent shooting from the field. He finished second-to-last in points per game and was the worst shooter on the team.

Emeka Okafor (right) struggled to play well right out of college, just as Davis would.
Emeka Okafor (right) struggled to play well right out of college, just as Davis would.Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Laettner was the clear weak link on the 1992 team, and he proved that college kids should not play in the Olympics before playing in the NBA.

Okafor was the next player to play right out of college, joining the 2004 team. He struggled mightily as well, barely seeing playing time and failing to score at all during the Olympics.

Okafor could not compete inside with international giants and was yet more proof that college players cannot yet handle international play.

Davis is currently among the 16 finalists to make the team, with four more players to be cut. However, he will be among those four even if he is healthy.

Listed at just 6'10" and 220 pounds by ESPN, Davis does not have the body to compete inside with international greats like the Gasol brothers (Spain), Nene Hilario (Brazil) or Serge Ibaka (Spain).

While Davis' slim frame did not pose a problem for him in college, he will not be able to bang inside against the best centers and power forwards the world has to offer.

Aside from his physical struggles, the Kentucky star is still developing his offensive game; Davis is replaceable.

What sets him apart is his ability to block shots. However, he is not the only finalist with that ability.

Tyson Chandler is the NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year. The 7'1" center not only can block shots, but he can do it just as well as Davis can, if not better. He also has a bigger frame which will allow him to bang inside with international bigs.

Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski knows how different the game is on the international stage compared to college. He is a college coach who saw his former player, Laettner, struggle in the Olympics right out of school.

Coach K is not going to make the same mistake with Davis.