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Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 12:00 pm  |  53 responses

Top 50: Anthony Davis, no. 44

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Dave Spahn / @davespahn

I know, I know; a rookie on any list like this causes a stir. Most fans/analysts throw a hissy fit any time a freshman makes a pre-season All-American team in college. Most of the time, freshmen/rookies should be left off lists that rank the top players in their respective leagues.

But a top-50 list goes deep enough to put a rookie somewhere on the list, and the No. 1 pick of the 2012 Draft is not your ordinary rookie. I am talking, of course, about Anthony Davis.

Is there a more decorated college basketball player in the history of college hoops than Anthony Davis? He won an SEC conference championship, a National Title and an Olympic Gold medal. He received SEC Freshmen of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, NCAA Player of the Year and Final Four Player of the Year.

Honestly, has any other college freshman ever won every single possible award? No one in my memory has done it.

After looking at Anthony Davis’ accomplishments as a Kentucky Wildcat and looking at his ranking of No. 44 in the SLAMonline Top 50, the first thought that came to my mind was “underrated.” Watching him play a few weeks ago at the Kentucky alumni game showed how fluid his offensive game has become. He showed his fantastic scoring ability in the paint at Kentucky, but Anthony will surprise people in the NBA with how well he can shoot the basketball, especially from deep range.

He can take his man off the dribble and will usually be guarded by bulkier players, creating opportunities for Davis to drift out to the perimeter and take his man to the hoop. His weight may be an issue for some people, but no one can deny his incredible skill set for a 6-10 guy.

Defensively, there may not be a more impactful rookie in the last decade than Anthony Davis. His 186 blocks broke the record for blocked shots as a freshman in college basketball history. He blocked more shots in his rookie year at Kentucky than a majority of teams in college basketball. He impacts the game defensively by just standing near the rim, daring people to drive the lane and end up with their manhood halfway up the stands.

The bottom line: Anthony Davis is a franchise-changing player who doesn’t need the spotlight on him 24/7 like many superstars. He took the fifth-most shots on his own college team, showing his dedication to teamwork and winning over putting up stats. Get used to seeing this name in the Top 50. I predict his name around the 25 mark, maybe even higher, at this time next year.


Where should Anthony Davis rank in the SLAMonline Top 50?

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SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2012
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Greg Monroe Pistons C 8
49 Tyreke Evans Kings PG 14
48 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 13
47 Stephen Curry Warriors PG 12
46 Ricky Rubio TWolves PG 11
45 Al Jefferson Jazz PF 14
44 Anthony Davis Hornets PF 13

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’12-13 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jake Appleman, Maurice Bobb, Rodger Bohn, Brendan Bowers, Franklyn Calle, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Adam Figman, Eldon Khorshidi, Eddie Maisonet III, Ryne Nelson, Ben Osborne, Allen Powell II, Sam Rubenstein, Jonathan Santiago, Abe Schwadron, Leo Sepkowitz, Dave Spahn, Ben Taylor, Tzvi Twersky, Peter Walsh, Tracy Weissenberg, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Dave Zirin.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • LeroyShonuff

    I’m calling BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://SLAMonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Ant is the FIRST rookie to grace the Top 50 since we started using the current criteria in ’09. #FIB

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    HELL NO. You’re telling me he’s better than Tyreke, Steph Curry and Rubio? No way.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    This seems right on the money, unless he is like a top 30 guy right out the gate, which is very possible.

  • fruizm

    exactly! no way he should have a better ranking than Tyreke!

  • fruizm

    Tyreke Evan should have a much better ranking, even if his team sucks.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    I’m a little skeptic… In regards to big men, you’re telling me he’s already better than Greg Monroe and Al Jefferson? But then again, maybe I’m just a little biased against rookies who haven’t played a single game in the NBA already slotted into the top 50…

  • barb

    So many exceptional young new or fairly new players in the new season. This season is going to be the best.

  • bike

    Including a rookie who has yet to play a single game renders these rankings moot.

  • Datkid

    I thought John Wall was….

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    These are our projections for THIS season. Why wouldn’t a rookie—especially one this promising—not have a shot to be a top-50 player?

  • nhm

    he better improve his team by at least 15wins

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    have a shot? i think it’s a shoe in that he is a top 50 guy this year unless he gets hurt.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    Could you imagine if y’all said this about Tim Duncan when he was coming out? That’s how much sense the outrage over this makes……as Davis is likely the best rookie out the gate since Duncan.

  • Junior Taylor

    So you think he is going to have a better rook season than BGriff (even though he wasn’t a true rook), and CP (had the highest WS for a rook since TD)? I doubt it. I see something along the lines of 12/11/2/1 for AD this season.

  • KipSmithers

    What’s BS’s phone number?

  • KipSmithers

    I wonder where he could be a year from now?

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    no i’m saying, coming out the gate, he looks like the most surefire star since Duncan. It is entirely logical, based on his skillset and physical gifts, that he will immediately be an impact, top 50 type player in the NBA from day 1. So predicting him to be such a player, makes perfect sense. To me at least. I’m not saying he will definitely be the best rookie since Duncan. my bad.

  • LakeShow

    I agree with this ranking also. His D is immediately elite IMO. His offense is better than most give him credit for. He can grab lops by the dozens, and has a decent jumper for a big man.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    I agree. Apparently bike and a whole gang of people who are @’ing us on Twitter don’t understand that.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    those people must not have actually watched the kid play. i’m not seeing any complaining on my twitter at all.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    exactly, the kid was a guard until his junior year of high school!! he is going to be a huge problem for teams at any big position with his guard skills & speed with that extreme length.

  • Flud

    He moves like a big time gamer. He sure looks like he can get mad strong real quick. He’s awfully young. Kinda boring name. I think he’s gonna do it.

  • spit hot fiyah

    the list is not based on who is better already, it is based on who will have the better 12-13 season. so we will know if he had a better season than monroe and jefferson next year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    You’re out of your mind. Most surefire star since Duncan? How about Greg Oden? How’d that turn out? I haven’t heard a single person say anything like he’s gonna be the best rookie since Duncan. That’s just foolish talk.

  • doodoo

    Thats why I prefer to call him The Brow

  • gators99

    they lost the sec tournament to vandy

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    First and foremost, I didn’t say he was gonna be the best rookie since Duncan, i said he’s the closest thing to a sure thing since Duncan. – Moreso than Greg Oden was.
    .
    And here, via Adrian Wojnarowski reportedly after speaking with many front offices – “Anthony Davis is as close to a sure thing as we’ve seen in years”
    .
    And here, “I’ll tell you exactly what Anthony Davis is — he’s a young Bill Russell … And Russell was by far, and will always be, the most valuable player ever in sport.” — Bob Knight, former college coach
    .
    And here, “There’s one player in this draft who changes the course of a franchise, and that’s Anthony Davis.” — Jon Barry, ESPN analyst
    .
    And here, “That young man is going to be a special player. He sees the game differently than most — sort of how Magic Johnson saw the game and how LeBron sees the game — because he played it from a guard perspective. That insight is a tremendous thing.” — Pervis Ellison, No. 1 pick, 1989 draft
    .
    Want me to keep going?

  • http://www.facebook.com/HolyBaller Dillan Leu

    Okay, I can agree to him being an impact player, and a guy who’s ready to play NBA ball right away. I still don’t see him as the second coming of Bill Russell (Bob Knight deserves to be slapped for that), and I don’t buy into him being an offensive weapon. In my opinion (opinion, obviously he could totally prove me wrong), he’s a more polished version of Emeka Okafor when he came into the league.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    That doesn’t make sense, i don’t think you’ve really watched Davis (no offense). Emeka Okafor was a 250lb banger coming into the league. Davis is like Kevin Garnett – he’s 6’10″ with a 9’7″ reach who runs the floor like a guard and can shoot a 16 foot jumper.

  • LakeShow

    There is nothing BS can do about this at this point.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    True. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the season’s over to see how this list actually fared lol.

  • bike

    I completely agree with your assessment of Davis. He is a once in a 10/20-year player – an off the wall talent. But you have him – who has not played one minute of a nba game – ahead of a guy like Evans who is an established player and whom I assume whose ranking was based upon nba performance. Davis could possibly be a top 20 player next year – point is no one knows yet.

  • Comment_System

    who the hell ever thought greg oden was a sure thing?

  • Comment_System

    I dont know who keeps downvoting you nbk, but I agree completely with your sentiment. His potential combined with the ability he has shown so far, makes this pick at 44 reasonable to say the least.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    EVERYONE

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    i appreciate it bruh

  • Najeetheripper

    did not win the sec championship

  • KipSmithers

    Very true.

  • da ThRONe

    Davis is Serge Ibaka 2.0. A big that can protect the rim and hit a jumper nothing more. Both are questionable post defenders and are incapable of creating their on shots. Anybody who expect more than that from Davis will be highly disappointed.

  • http://SLAMonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    I stand corrected. You’re right man…

  • nick

    greg oden was suppose to be the next coming, haha every single person thought he was the next Duncan, lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bishop.SeanMagicJuan Sean MagicJuan

    The problem is with the comparisons in the heads of you doubters. You’re thinking that A.D. is going to evolve into the Duncan/Garnett hybrid where I see Pippen with 3 and a half inches. This is the last time he isn’t in the top 20.

  • HOOSIER4LIFE

    if davis is on this list Brad beal better be

  • HOOSIER4LIFE

    could not have said it better myself man

  • ctkennedy

    Where the Hornets play him gon say alot about his ranking for me …to small to bang at the 5 but his quickness advantage is what would make him special plus RyanAnderson cant guard at the 3 if they play him at the 4…i expect 14/9/1.5blks

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bishop.SeanMagicJuan Sean MagicJuan

    If you don’t expect more than Ibaka from the number one pick, you just don’t give a damn.

  • da ThRONe

    It’s not an insult to Davis help side defense is huge in today’s NBA. A lot of people felt Ibaka should’ve won DPOY last season. However the comparisons to Duncan and Garnett are insane. Do people watch him he’s so clumsy with the ball and non explosive on anything offensively that’s not a dunk. Yet people (so called experts at that) have the gall to compare him to the best offensively skilled big men of this generation blasphemy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504755902 Donald Murray

    If i was a GM and I had a chance of getting either Anthony Davis or Tyreke Evans, yeah, I would choose Davis. It’s no insult to Tyreke. it’s just that the opportunity to get a shot-blocking/rebounding defensive anchor for your team doesn’t happen all that often. did anyone see how well he played in the Olympics? He dominated defensively.

  • rainman

    Already better than Al jefferson? already better than rubio? COmee onnnnnnn

  • rainman

    true, but you cant put him ahead of established (Al jefferson) or relatively established ( rubio) big time players in this league

  • Tom.s

    Both Greg and Big Al are gonna have their way with the slim-jim, at least this year! If everything pans out the way it should, Davis will be a beast in a few years!
    Next Garnett? Maybe!

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