Given the recent rash of injuries that have cropped up for Team USA, you would think the New Orleans Hornets would have wanted to keep No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis off the floor.
But you only had to look at the reception Davis got when he hit a late three-pointer against the Dominican Republic on Thursday to know he's right where he belongs.
You can't overstate what it's like getting support from NBA superstars when you are a rookie coming into the biggest, baddest basketball league on the planet. When Davis hit that "And One" against the Dominican Republic, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and LeBron James rushed off the bench to pick him up off the floor and the entire squad was there to give him props.
He only played in about 10 minutes on Thursday, but with every made bucket (he had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting) his confidence grew by leaps and bounds.
Davis has about a month with Team USA—assuming the squad makes it to the gold medal game—but he only needed 10 minutes to show he belongs. And when he was officially given the injured Blake Griffin's roster spot on Thursday, it was not only a huge boost for the 19-year-old, but also a huge boost to the Hornets franchise.
Beyond the encouragement Davis is already getting from his USA basketball teammates, he is sure to soak up some knowledge among some of the greatest players in the world. He may even receive some tough love from time to time. It is all part of the learning process when you graduate from being a college star to one of many highly-talented players in the NBA.
When Davis' first season with the Hornets is over, he may look back at his time with Team USA and realize how much it truly meant to him. He may not get tons of playing time in the 2012 London Olympics, but he may benefit most from the time he spends with his USA teammates in practice.
It's all about the strides a rookie makes from Day One. Fortunately for Davis, Day One started a little early.
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