Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Stock Report: ↔
Last Week's Rank: 2
Anthony Davis has proven to be a complete success through his first year in the league.
For as safe of a pick as he was as the No. 1 selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, Davis was still a risk.
He was the most talented player, with the greatest size and a winning resume, but that also placed him into a category of players that hasn’t had long-term success.
Drafting a big man with the first overall pick in the draft has been chancy in the past dozen years. The expiration date can come suddenly, and there’s as many examples of failures than success stories.
Here's the list of big men taken in the last 12 years:
- Blake Griffin (2009 by Los Angeles Clippers, missed rookie season with injury)
- Greg Oden (2007 by Portland Trail Blazers, missed career with injury)
- Andrea Bargnani (2006 by Toronto Raptors)
- Andrew Bogut (2005 by Milwaukee Bucks, injuries led him away)
- Dwight Howard (2004 by Orlando Magic)
- Yao Ming (2002 by Houston Rockets)
- Kwame Brown (2001 by Washington Wizards)
Whereas when you consider the top picks in that same timeframe who were perimeter players, the percentage of success is perfect: Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Derrick Rose and LeBron James.
So, yes, there was lingering suspicion around Davis entering the season.
He’s proving worthy as the top pick despite the great success of Damian Lillard. The Portland Trail Blazers are plenty happy with their No. 6 overall pick, but New Orleans wouldn’t change their mind if they could do it over again.
The reality is that high-scoring guards are easier to find than highly productive, efficient post players. Though he still hasn’t had the season that Lillard has, Davis is proving he is plenty capable as a versatile interior scorer and defender.
Davis played heavy minutes in March, 31.3 per game, and averaged 16 points on 55.2 percent shooting while adding 9.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.
He has made a run at top rookie honors, but it’s still far from the brilliance that Lillard has shown this season.