Anthony Davis, No. 1 (Mock Draft)
The Hornets kick things off with a can’t-miss big man.
The annual SLAMonline Mock Draft begins today with no surprises—SLAM 160 cover star Anthony Davis goes to New Orleans, as expected. Check back early tomorrow to see who the Charlotte Bobcats select.—Ed.
by Maurice Bobb / @ReeseReport
No one saw this coming. The New Orleans Hornets winning the Draft Lottery? The same New Orleans owned by the NBA? The same New Orleans that, going into it, had about the same chance of the ball bouncing in their favor as the Charlotte Bobcats making the Playoffs? It was just as shocking as, well, the commissioner of the NBA vetoing a major trade for basketball reasons.
Conspiracy theorists will chomp at the bit until the cows come home or, until Donald Sterling breaks the luxury tax, but, let’s face it, they should save their outrage for the guy eating faces story or for shows like Basketball Wives. Sorry, Charlotte, you’ll have to settle for the silver medal, because, like it or not, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is being made by the team with the funky blue bee logo that lost its superstar last season.
With the first pick in the 2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the New Orleans Hornets select…
Anthony Davis from the University of Kentucky.
Who are we kidding? Davis is a lock to be the first name out of Stern’s mouth on June 28. There hasn’t been a clear-cut first pick in the Draft like Davis since LeBron James. In a loaded draft, Davis stands out as the can’t-miss pick that will instantly change the fortunes of a franchise. And though the Hornets have kept their pick close to the breast since taking the top pick, they’d have to be as dumb as a guest on Jerry Springer to pass up on Davis.
Let’s look at his résumé, shall we?
He broke the NCAA freshman block record. He was the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, the National Player of the Year, First Team All-American and, as the icing on the cake, he won an NCAA Championship. During his impressive frosh campaign for the ‘Cats, Davis averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per contest. The biggest piece of the Davis puzzle, though, is the fact that he grew from 6-2 to 6-10 and still managed to maintain his skills as a guard, including the ability to put the ball on the floor and move his feet like an Alvin Ailey dancer.
Everyone knows that defense wins NBA Championships. Anthony Davis has the kind of defensive prowess that a team can hang its Championship hopes on. During the Tournament, we were all privy to his footwork while playing on-the-ball defense, his ability to cover ground on D, his ability to close out on the shooter and his ability to defend the pick-and-roll. Simply put, this kid is a game-changer on defense.
And he has more than alley-oop dunks and putbacks in his offensive arsenal. On a team loaded with shooters, Davis only took the fourth highest amount of shots on the team, not because he couldn’t, but because he put his team first. So we only saw his smooth, mid-range J in the tourney. But more than that, we saw his bulls-eye outlet passes to start the break and we saw how well he passed out of double teams.
This kid’s basketball IQ is off the charts and the scary thing is, he’s only been playing on the block for two years. And I can tell you from my time with him that he won’t have any issues off the court. This kid is grounded and wants to be the best. He will work. He will get better. If I’m the Hornets, I pick this kid everyday of the week and twice on Sunday.
And as for his famous unibrow? Well, he also told me that it’s here to stay. Brow Down.