Being the no. 1 pick comes with a ton of baggage (see Bennett, Anthony). The fans are eager & patience is thin, especially when you’re expected to be ‘a sure thing’. After being the unanimous projected choice for first pick coming out of college, & the 12th man on the USA Basketball team at the Olympics, last year was a bit of a letdown for Davis. Recurring injuries kept him for playing up to his potential, while the 6th pick Lillard snatched away the Rookie of the Year crown with a smooth NBA ready game from day one.
They say it takes big men longer to develop. Guards are more polished. We’ve seen this before. In 95, a draft featuring big men like McDyess, Sheed & Garnett, it was Damon Stoudemire who won the ROY, but in all honesty didn’t grow much beyond. Sometimes there isn’t too far to go from a refined game. Lillard is solid. He was all of last year. This season, more of the same. Consistent, savvy, big game player. Borderline All Star if the Blazers can win a bit more.
And then there’s Davis & what we’re witnessing already in this young season. A player making ‘the leap’. From prospect straight to FRANCHISE PLAYER. There were signs in the preseason. Some great opening games. Video game stat lines. And then the breakout game! 32 –12 & 6 (blocks). & the youngest to ever do it.
What’s amazing in Davis’ case specifically, is that there is no template. We cannot look back at a similar player and expect a similar career trajectory, a similar ‘ceiling’. We can’t make parallels like we can with other players. Shaq & Wilt. Kobe & MJ. Michael Carter Williams & Penny? But recently there are new players who present new evolutionary paradigms, altering the game radically, doing things that shouldn’t be possible. Garnett. Dirk. Lebron. Durant. And now the Brow.
His game makes no sense unless you understand his history. And even that makes no sense. Suddenly its possible for guards to grow into 7 footers and not lose their shooting touch, court vision & athleticism AND develop a big man defensive game??? HOW?… Ridiculous.
So now as we witness the emergence another legitimate, game altering superstar, it begs the question ‘Who is Anthony Davis?’
There’s only one thing in New Orleans more terrifying than the Pelicans’ mascot, and its name is Anthony Davis.