#1: Anthony Davis
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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With the top overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft the New Orleans Hornets selected Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis. The move comes as a surprise to nobody since Davis established himself as the premier draft prospect in the country back in January. While Davis tried to downplay the Hornets’ interest, it’s been no secret since the second they won the draft lottery that he would be their guy.
“It’s undescribable right now,” Davis said. “It’s a great feeling, great experience. I’ve wanted this all my life, so it’s finally here. To be drafted number one overall means a lot to me, for a 19-year-old freshman, now professional. The city of New Orleans was great. I had a great time when I went to visit. I just can’t wait to get down there and start to play.”
Less than a year after being cornered into trading All-Star point guard Chris Paul in fear of losing him for nothing via free agency the Hornets have their next franchise player in Davis. Davis, with his defensive prowess and unselfishness, is the ideal player for them to build around moving forward.
The addition of Davis sets the Hornets up for a fairly quick rebuilding process. As he proved last year at Kentucky, he’s a winner who is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. He’ll step into the starting forward position immediately and provide energy, shot-blocking, athleticism and versatility.
“I just have to come in and play defense,” Davis said. “I know they are a defensive-oriented team and I love to play defense, and that’s what the coaches stress a lot. I think my defensive ability, I think we can do a great job with defending guys. At the same time, we still have to put points on the board so make sure we keep working hard every day, stay in the gym and just keep working.”
As much praise and hype as Davis enters the league with, he is not without a couple of minor weaknesses. He’s still a little bit raw offensively and in need of some lower body strength. Those should both be non-factors in relatively short fashion, though.
“Guys are a lot stronger in the NBA and I know that’s one of my weaknesses,” Davis said. “So I’m going to tyr and make it a strenght, stay in the weight room, try to get tougher.”
The most important thing for the Hornets to do now is find Davis some help inside the paint. He’s not going to be able to play center like he did primarily in college. They need to add a big, physical five man whether it be a veteran through free agency or another rookie at 10.
As far as this pick is concerned, there’s no other way to describe it as than a homerun for the Hornets. Davis is the special kind of talent that only comes around a couple of times a decade. Getting lucky in the draft has been critical in the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder’s rise to prominence. In a couple of years down the line, the Hornets could be mentioned in the same light.