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Don’t hand Lillard rookie of year yet
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On April 2, 2013 @ 1:00 am In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Hornets forward Anthony Davis set the pick at the top of the key, and point guard Greivis Vasquez split the double team. As Anthony moved toward the basket, Vasquez hit him with a perfect no-look pass, culminating in a Davis dunk.
Another time in the same game, instead of rolling to the basket after the setting a screen, Davis stayed on the perimeter. Vasquez — become familiar with this combination — delivered a bounce pass to Davis, who swished an 18-foot jump shot.
Late in his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft, is mastering two of the NBA’s favorite plays: the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop.
It’s what NBA teams will see from Davis in future seasons. The Davis opponents see now is not the Davis teams saw earlier in the season. And that is by design.
“Today’s young guys are a bit different,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said. “I don’t think you throw them in the fire right away and put them in situations early where they can fail and lose their confidence.
“Now he understands what it takes. He still has a ways to go, but we’re starting to see more confidence, more of him exploring, more of him taking chances.”
Earlier in the season, Davis scored often by running the floor, collecting offensive rebounds and otherwise making opportunities for himself.
Now, New Orleans calls plays for him.
“Just being more aggressive and trying to attack the basket and using my speed and athleticism to my advantage,” Davis said.
Since the All-Star break, Davis has averaged more points (15.1) and rebounds (9.3) and shot a better percentage (53%) than he did before the break. His percentage on shots 8-16 feet has also improved from 40.4% before the break to 44.1% after the break, according to NBA.com/stats.
Davis was fine with the Hornets’ plan to initiate him slowly to the pro game.
“It’s helped me a lot to see the game, explore the game and figure out how I want to play the game,” Davis said. “Monty’s done a great job bringing me into this system slowly, and I’m progressing each and every day.”
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