The entire basketball-observing world already expected former University of Kentucky star Anthony Davis to be the No. 1 overall selection in next month's 2012 NBA draft; now that the 2012 NBA draft lottery's done, we know he'll most likely be going to the New Orleans Hornets, who entered Wednesday night's drawing with the fourth-best odds of coming away with the top selection but leaped over the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and (by virtue of losing an amazingly fortuitous coin flip) Cleveland Cavaliers to take home the evening's grand prize.
With draft-loving eyes now trained solely on how Davis will fit in the Big Easy, the monobrowed monster joined Dan Patrick on his nationally syndicated radio show on Thursday morning to talk about how the settling of the lottery impacted the 19-year-old big man. Davis said he was "very nervous" while watching the lottery, not so much because he was concerned which team would wind up with the top pick, but because seeing the whole process unfold in front of your eyes can be sort of nerve-wracking.
He also said he hadn't yet heard from anybody in the Hornets organization, that he wasn't too keen on having his mom move down to the Bayou from her home in Chicago ("I might let her get a house down here, but that's too close") and that his family kind of liked the idea of him going to the Charlotte Bobcats, where he could play for owner and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, whom Davis loved growing up in the Windy City. (I think a lot of Bobcats fans would agree, no matter how stoked the organization is with the No. 2 pick.)
The interview's most interesting moment, though, came when Patrick asked Davis who he's most looking forward to playing against in the pros, an exchange you can hear in the clip above, thanks to the folks at CSNChicago.com:
"The guy I'm looking forward to playing against is one of my teammates — if they get drafted, one of my teammates, in the NBA, to have the opportunity to reunite with them and try to beat them," Davis replied.
"But you want to, like, dunk over [Michael] Kidd-Gilchrist or DeMarcus [Cousins] — I mean, you were only there one year, you can't have that many guys to play against," Patrick replied. "You don't want to go against LeBron [James] or Kobe [Bryant] or Dwight Howard?"
"Um, probably Kobe," Davis said.
"Really," Patrick said, hinting at a question mark but not quite getting there.
"You know, Kobe, he's a monster," Davis said. "So I want to just go out there and try my hardest. You know, there's a lot of guys who can't stop Kobe. So if I stop him, I'll be one of them guys who can say, 'I shut Kobe down.'"
"Be careful what you ask for, Anthony," Patrick said, as Davis laughed. "He listens to the show, and he's got a great memory."
"Tell him I'll be waiting," Davis replied with a laugh.
So, this is great.
For starters, it is obviously hilarious and amazing that a 6-foot-10-inch not-even-rookie — even one touted as perhaps the most impactful defensive prospect since Howard came out of high school in 2004, if not longer — is talking about shutting down an off-guard who, despite having nearly 1,400 games on his NBA odometer, still came within one game and one-tenth of a point of leading the league in scoring this year. Even though Davis was clearly just responding to a lighthearted leading question during a talk radio interview, this presents a pretty awesome introduction to Anthony Davis for NBA fans who maybe weren't paying such close attention to his lone season as an NCAA player.
Yes, Anthony Davis is a unique and ludicrous defensive player, with all kinds of length, quickness, angles and space-eating, but more importantly, he carries that all-enveloping capacity with a little bit of swagger. The world has too few defenders who treat preventing points like scoring points; if Davis can be that, he gives the league some needed personality balance in addition to providing a putative identity for a Hornets team in dire need of one as it begins a new chapter.
Plus, this makes the first Hornets-Lakers matchup of next season a much more interesting contest to circle on your NBA schedule, because it's virtually unthinkable that Kobe won't go right at Davis when he gets a chance to square him up on the court with live ammo flying. When exciting things get more exciting, it's a win for the fan. Also, this should make for some AMAZING stories coming out of Team USA practices.
I wholeheartedly support Anthony Davis' "talk about shutting superstars down" initiative. I can only hope he will start keeping a checklist of players he wants to lock up, like Chad Johnson's "Who Can Cover 85?" list. That way, we can all keep track, which is very social and very Web 2.0.