NBA Rookie Spotlight Featuring Anthony Davis
As the NBA approaches the All-Star weekend, it's safe to say that Anthony Davis has been one of the best rookies this year.
The New Orleans Hornets may not be having the best season, but Davis is developing quite nicely as a player in the NBA. His size and length make him dangerous on both sides of the ball, and he has made the most of his opportunities.
This week's rookie spotlight will take a look at the former college star, showing his transition from school to the pros, and analyze several aspects of his game.
Despite playing just one year at the University of Kentucky, Davis had a very impressive college career.
The Kentucky Wildcats finished the season as national champions, defeating the Kansas Jayhawks in New Orleans. Davis was the true leader of the team, despite his inexperience at the college level.
Davis had an incredible season, winning multiple awards. He was the winner of the Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year awards. He was also a consensus first-team All-American—the only freshman to receive that honor for 2012.
Along with all of the awards, Davis' numbers were equally impressive. He averaged a double-double, recording 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. His 4.7 blocks per game were more than most teams were able to record. He broke the NCAA freshman record for blocks with 186.
After what seemed like the perfect season for any player, Davis and the rest of Kentucky's starting lineup decided to enter the NBA draft.
However, Davis was considered the top NBA prospect, and it was no surprise when the New Orleans Hornets selected him with the No. 1 overall pick.
When the Hornets won the draft lottery, there was no doubt that they would be selecting Davis when the NBA draft came around. With such a successful freshman year, there didn't seem to be any option.
While everyone expected Davis to be a great defender, not many expected him to develop as such an efficient scorer in the NBA.
Up to this point, Davis has shown that he can shoot over NBA players. So far, he has shot very well, making 52.6 of his shots.
What makes Davis so impressive shooting is the fact that he has developed nicely nearly everywhere on the floor.
He has done a great job playing in the post, making quick moves to get himself open up close. When at the top of the key, he can drive to the basket, making quick cuts and surprising slower players. His mid-range jumper has also impressed a lot of people, as he isn't afraid to shoot them if he's open.
The one area Davis hasn't made his presence felt it behind the arc. However, this is hardly surprising, as he is more of a power forward or center. This isn't something he needs to be working on, and no one expects him to.
Overall, Davis is finding ways to score and isn't taking many bad shots. This is a great sign, and hopefully, he will continue to make good decisions with the ball.
What made Davis such a reliable pick in the NBA draft was his ability to box out and grab difficult rebounds. Up to this point, he has been doing just that for the Hornets.
So far, Davis is averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, which is .1 away from Andre Drummond, who leads all rookies in rebounds per game. This is a solid number, considering the team is only 21st in the league in rebounds.
Davis has also been impressive getting rebounds on offense. His 2.3 offensive rebounds per game have been a big help, as it has given the team second chances to put points on the scoreboard.
Rebounds are an important part of the game, and so far Davis is doing a pretty good job at crashing the boards. He will need to continue to do so in order to be considered a great all-around player.
Davis was the Defensive Player of the Year in college, and he is trying to prove that he is an elite defender in the pros.
Shot-blocking was Davis' biggest strength, and so far he has done a pretty good job at that. He is averaging 1.8 blocks per game, which puts him at 10th in the league in that category.
Opposing players have had trouble getting shots off cleanly against Davis, as his long arms cause quite a few problems. He has done a good job against players who enjoy taking jump shots, as he has done a good job of not getting too far away from his assignments.
All in all, Davis is still a rookie, but as far as rookies go, Davis is playing well on defense. There is still definitely room for improvement, but Davis is still only 19 years old, and more in-game experience will cause him to become a better defender.
As far as Davis' potential goes, the sky is the limit.
There are few players in the NBA that are as physically gifted as Davis. He is 6'10'', but his wingspan is a frightening 7'4''. His long arms make him an excellent defender, and a great scorer in the paint.
Davis has all of the skills of a great player, and these can be developed even further. He has found a pretty good jump shot, which will make him a threat from almost anywhere. He was an incredible defender in college, and he will become better in the pros with the right coaching.
Davis shows all the signs of a great player in the making. He is a physically gifted and unbelievably talented player. It's definitely not a stretch to believe that Davis can be an All-Star in the next three years.
Rookie of the Year?
Although Davis has had a very solid first year up to this point, his chances at being the Rookie of the Year at the end of the season aren't the highest.
Damian Lillard has become an incredible point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, as he has been a solid scorer as well as a great floor general. His numbers have been impressive, and that will likely land him with the award at the end of the year.
Andre Drummond has also been another big rookie so far for the Detroit Pistons. Despite playing less than 20 minutes per game, he has still been a productive player both scoring and rebounding.
This year's rookie class has done a great job, and there appears to be a lot of competition for the Rookie of the Year. If Davis wants to win it, he is going to have to play a lot better in the second half of the season.
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