COMMENTARY | After winning an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal, and getting selected with the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, many fans expected Anthony Davis to immediately reverse the New Orleans Hornets' fortunes. After all, Drew Brees brought the Saints to the NFC title game in his first year in New Orleans.
However, Anthony Davis is a 19-year-old rookie and the talent around him at Kentucky and Team USA is incomparable to the Hornets. New Orleans needs more than a teenage NBA rookie to become a contender. So the Hornets season is now more about tracking Anthony Davis' development as an NBA rookie than wins and losses.
The book on Davis coming out of Kentucky was that he was an athletic phenom who still needed development on the offensive end. From what I've seen so far in New Orleans, Anthony Davis' scouting report is accurate to a point.
Defensively, Anthony Davis' reach and leaping ability often make up for shortcomings in technique. He's averaging 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for the Hornets. If he had played in enough games this season, Davis would be eighth in the NBA in blocked shots per game and first among rookies.
On the offensive end, Davis also shows flashes of brilliance for the Hornets. He has surprising range for a big man and often hits outside jump shots to bail out New Orleans as the shot clock winds down. Anthony Davis also grabs quite a few offensive rebounds for easy lay ups.
What I find perplexing is that the Hornets never seem to run their offense through Davis. I realize he's an NBA rookie, but he's only going to improve through experience. I thought Greivis Vasquez and Anthony Davis would be the "Crescent City Connection" version 2.0, but Vasquez feeds more alley-oops to Al-Farouq Aminu than Davis.
I know his injuries and 13 missed games have hindered his development as an NBA rookie. However, even when healthy, Hornets coach Monty Williams is only playing Davis for 32 minutes per game. Part of the reason for this is that Hornets C Robin Lopez and PF Ryan Anderson have both been much better than expected for New Orleans.
If New Orleans had gotten off to a fast start and was within striking distance of an NBA Playoff berth I could understand Williams playing and feeding the veterans over his rookie sensation. But at 7-25, Anthony Davis should be playing 36 to 40 minutes per game. This is the only way the Hornets can accelerate his NBA development.
I'm sure Anthony Davis will be a part of NBA All-Star Weekend in the Rising Stars Challenge. And he is certain to make the 2013 NBA All-Rookie Team. But if Davis is to make the New Orleans Hornets NBA contenders in two or three years, Monty Williams must give him the ball, whether he's ready for it or not.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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