Rivers and Davis look to make New Orleans relevant again in the NBA
The New Orleans Hornets came out of the 2012 NBA Draft looking like definite winners.
The Hornets used the first overall pick to select Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, who won just about every collegiate award out there in his lone season at UK.
Fast forward nine picks. The Hornets found themselves ready to pick at the No. 10 slot, their second pick in the first ten overall. The Hornets then selected Austin Rivers, another one-year college player who electrified fans at Duke University last season.
Davis and Rivers have spent the last few years as some of the brightest young players in basketball. While they both have their share of individual accomplishments, will they be able to come together and provide a spark for the New Orleans Hornets and become a dynamic duo? It certainly looks that way.
Here are five reasons Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis can be a dynamic duo in the NBA.
Rivers and Davis fit the classic athletic guard/dominant big man mold
Through the years the NBA has had amazing duos who were able to take a team far based on their talent alone. Some of the most memorable duos came in Shaq and Kobe, Chamberlain and West, Stockton and Malone, Cousy and Russell, and Magic and Kareem.
All of these duos have something in common. The combination. Most of the greatest duos in history come from a guard who can score and pass paired with a big man who is almost unstoppable offensively and a dominant defender.
Rivers falls into the Kobe spot of the pair as a great scorer, but will need to improve his passing ability. Davis will take the Shaq role as the dominant big man but will have to get better on the block if this duo wants to take it to the next level.
Rivers has been called a ball-hog after averaging 2.1 assists per game at Duke
For "Rivers to Davis!" to become the next big combo in the NBA, both Davis and Rivers need to improve areas of their game.
Rivers is a prolific scorer, averaging 15.5 points per game in his one year at Duke and also used his scoring to lead Winter Park High School to back-to-back State Championships in Florida.
While Rivers has the scoring ability of a great potential half of a dynamic duo, if he becomes a great passer and facilitator, he'll be one of the league's best players overall.
Rivers has decent court vision, with the definite ability to make plays for his teammates, but has been criticized for relying too much on himself. He would rather take the shot or make a play for himself rather than his team, according to scouts and analysts.
While River's scoring prowess will be good enough to help the Hornets, if he can develop a passing game and chemistry with Davis, this duo will become a force to be reckoned with.
To become a true dynamic duo Davis will have to improve his offensive game
Like Rivers, Davis is a very talented player who has his share of individual awards. Davis has won almost every individual award in the NCAA, including the NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player award and the Naismith award.
Davis is a dominant big man, known for his ability on the defensive side of the ball. Davis swatted away over 180 shots at Kentucky, becoming a member of an elite group of players who have led the NCAA in blocks as freshmen.
Along with his 4.7 blocks per game Davis snagged over 10 rebounds per contest throughout the season.
While Davis was a dominant defender he's not too bad offensively either. Davis averaged over 14 points per game for the Wildcats, a majority coming from dunks, put-backs or alley-oops. Davis has a pretty thin frame compared to the Dwight Howards and Serge Ibakas of the NBA, which means he'll have to develop a finesse game to be effective offensively.
While Davis is already a very talented player, if he wants to become one half of a dynamic duo, he'll need to become more dangerous on offense.
Eric Gordon and the other role-players for the Hornets will be pivotal in taking some attention off of Davis and Rivers
Gordon, Anderson, Aminu
When you look at some of the best dynamic duos in NBA history, they usually weren't alone.
Take Kobe and Shaq for example. They had Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry to help (among others). Thankfully for Rivers and Davis, they'll have help too.
The Hornets certainly don't have the deepest roster in the league, but they have players with a lot of talent and the potential to become very important role players.
The potential dynamic duo will be joined this season by players like Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Al-Farouq Aminu and Greivis Vasquez. Gordon is an efficient scorer, Anderson is one of the most under-rated big men in the league who can shoot the long ball, while Aminu and Vasquez are both talented role players as well.
If the rest of the New Orleans roster can play at a high level it'll take some of the pressure off of their top-10 draft picks, which will allow them more space on the floor and less attention from opponents, allowing them to develop as a dynamic duo.
Davis and River both have something you can't teach. Raw talent.
My final reason is the most obvious. Davis and Rivers are great basketball players. Maybe Rivers is a ball hog at times and maybe Davis is soft in the post, but they will both have great careers in the NBA.
These two can be a great dynamic duo because of their skills and raw talent alone. Without any help from NBA coaching staffs, these two can score and defend. Their raw talent and knowledge of the game will allow them the opportunity to become a dominant pair at the highest level.
Because of their skill at the game, Davis and Rivers have the chance to become an outstanding pair not only in New Orleans, but in the entire NBA.
Davis and Rivers have the skills and are in the right place to become one of the dynamic duos of the future
While Rivers and Davis both have strong and weak spots in their game, they have the tools to be a great duo for the Hornets.
If Rivers can prove his critics wrong and develop his game as a facilitator and Davis can improve offensively on the block, these two could be a huge headache for opponents for years to come.
Austin and Anthony have a bright future ahead of them, and all of the makings of a dynamic duo in the NBA.