Breaking Down Where Anthony Davis Will Show His Impact Immediately
First, let's take a look at the downside (I'm negative that way). On defense, Davis was actually a bit of a disappointment, which was surprising considering that's supposed to be his most readily available skill. He got back slowly in transition, and he even fell asleep off the ball on a few possessions. In short, he looked like an NBA rookie. Defense is often where first years struggle, and while I did not expect such flailing from Davis, it's far from a terrible sign.
Fortunately, his offense was about two times better than anticipated.
Well, apparently Anthony Davis can hit that shot. His jumper was questioned coming into the draft, but at the very least, he demonstrated an ability to become a shooting threat.
This is fantastic news for the New Orleans offense. An underrated aspect of making any offensive attack hum, is the inclusion of shooting bigs. If a frontcourt player can rip the nets, his marker will follow far from the rim, allowing more space for drives.
Also, the threat of a shooting big man keeps defenders occupied on pick-and-roll actions. If both defenders involved in a pick-and-roll are focused on the big, the ball-handler can often sprint to the basket for a layup or dunk.
The mid-range jump shot is becoming a requirement for power forwards in the floor-space conscious NBA. Many thought, going into the draft, that Davis was a center. This skill will let him play anywhere from the four spot to the three spot.
Anthony Davis also impressed with some incredible leaping in his debut. All jumping is not equally effective, as some guys take a while to "load" before rising up. One of Davis' best attributes is the ability to jump quickly in pursuit of the ball.
If you watched Anthony Davis at Kentucky, you noticed an inchoate hook shot at the end of the college season. The touch on this shot has come along beautifully, and it will be a weapon with his 7-5 wingspan. He had a lovely little baseline swish with the mini hook in the second quarter.
Finally, expect Anthony Davis to punctuate many a lob pass. The kid throttled the rim on a fourth-quarter alley-oop in what should be a preview of thousands of such plays. The defense will come along, but for now, Davis is already a nice offensive weapon.
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