As we do every year, Dime will be holding you down with mock drafts, player interviews and diaries (you should check out Dion Waiters‘ draft diary), and we will also be bringing you draft profiles for every potential prospect deemed worthy. With this year’s crop of talent, that list is long. Our last profile was on the future of UNC’s Thomas Robinson. Today, we’re looking at Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.
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Best Case: Kevin Garnett
Worst Case: Greg Oden
Final Comparison: Marcus Camby
Athletic ability has a lot to do with why Anthony Davis is so successful. On top of that ridiculous length he has, he has the athleticism to top it off. He has the type of elite athleticism you look for in a shot blocker and pick and roll big man. He’s a great target for lobs and is extremely quick for his size. His quickness is what makes him such a unique player. Because of his mobility and excellent all-around timing, he’s very successful at rotating for blocked shots on defense and slipping screens or cutting back door for layups and lobs. His jumping ability just makes him even more unstoppable in those situations. He runs the floor with speed, which makes him a real threat in transition. Davis’ strongest asset for the next level will be his athleticism. If he can continue to use it to get easy baskets and be that game-changing shot blocker everyone thinks he can become, he’ll fulfill his potential and be worthy of the No. 1 overall pick.
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Davis has advanced skills for a player his size. Before he shot up to 6-10 his senior year of high school, he was a guard; and you can tell by the way he plays. He rarely looks uncomfortable with the basketball in his hands, even when the ball comes to him on the fast break. After grabbing a defensive rebound, he doesn’t hesitate to push it out on the break for 3 or 4 dribbles. His mid-range jumper is consistent, but still needs a bit of polishing. His length and athleticism makes him a solid finisher. He has touch on his jump hook and the fundamental footwork you look for in a big man, which shows that he has the potential to become a real post presence in the future. He’s got that Kevin Garnett all-around skill package. It’s still very raw, and does need a bit of seasoning, but it’s all there nonetheless. It won’t be long before his game really develops and, if it does, he could turn into the franchise player we all expect him to.
Although he has the NBA athleticism and skill, he just doesn’t have the NBA body yet. Standing at 6-10 and only weighing in at 222 will be an issue for Davis at the next level. Even though he has tremendous length and timing, he’s not immune to getting outmuscled. In the NBA, there’s usually a whole lot of muscle underneath the basket. Since he already has a reputation as a shot blocker, his opponents will to try to bury him under the basket and go up strong. If there’s one thing Davis has to work on, there’s no question it’s his strength. You have to imagine that an extra year or two at Kentucky would have given him the necessary time he needed to really grow into and build on that lanky 6″10 frame. Offensively, he’ll be okay because of his versatility, quickness, and athletic ability. But he won’t become a real game-changing offensive threat until he gets stronger and learns to really back down his opponent. He’s got the footwork and post moves down – he just needs the strength to make them effective at the next level. His post moves worked well in college, but in the NBA he’ll struggle getting in position to make those same types of moves. Defensively, he’ll be able to impact games because of his quickness, timing and athletic ability. Although guards will be thinking twice about driving to the basket, some of the stronger bigs won’t be too afraid of him. If there’s anything holding back his NBA readiness, there’s no question it’s his frail frame.