When Blake Griffin enters surgery today, it officially closes the door on what we already knew: Anthony Davis will officially be representing the United States in London.
The 2012 men's national team was dealt a blow when Griffin went down with a torn meniscus.
Griffin brought energy and excitement to the U.S. squad with his explosive dunks in practice, but his injury has cut his Olympic run short before it even began.
USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo was forced to replace Griffin with someone who could fill the void left in the frontcourt. Fortunately for him, Colangelo had the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft at his disposal.
Anthony Davis is the perfect player to compliment what Team USA has, as well as what they will need in London 2012.
Davis has yet to play an NBA game, but he has already proved that he has big-time talent. In his only season at Kentucky, Davis dominated the college landscape, winning a national championship, in addition to the Naismith Award.
Davis was the obvious choice for New Orleans with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, but Colangelo couldn't find room on Team USA for the young talent. When Griffin bowed out, Davis' international window of opportunity opened again.
Colangelo made the smart decision in taking Davis.
The international game stretches the floor, allowing shooters and guards to thrive. While Davis is a big man, he can play the mid-range game well, his jump shot is better than average and he is strong offensively.
Davis also brings much-needed length to Team USA. Tyson Chandler is the lone true big man on the USA roster. Davis may only be 6'10", but his long reach allows him to be a shot-blocking force down low.
While Griffin helped out offensively, a Davis-Chandler frontcourt could prove to be a necessity against a strong Spanish squad. Spain boasts a frontcourt with three NBA players, including the Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka.
Davis also adds a bit of tradition to Team USA. Before the days of the Dream Team, only amateurs played Olympic basketball. While Davis has already been drafted into the league, he reminds us of the days when Patrick Ewing and Michael Jordan were fresh out of school and in the national spotlight before making it to the big time.
No matter what, Davis will be fun to watch. The youngster will give us a taste of what he can do on an international stage, as well as show us where his place will be early in his NBA career. If he keeps up with the pros in his Olympic debut, we could be setting ourselves up to see a tremendous rookie campaign.
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