New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis has not yet played in an NBA game, but he has already gotten a chance to play against one of the top veterans in professional basketball in Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs. Several Hornets participated in volunteer workouts in San Antonio recently, giving young players a chance to work with new teammates while competing against quality NBA talent. Many of the Hornets' players joined Davis in Texas, including Austin Rivers, Darius Miller, Robin Lopez, Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith.
As a Hornets fan, I think it is great that these players traveled to Texas to work with Duncan and others. Following his experience in the London Olympics this summer, Davis has done a great job of preparing himself for his first NBA season. He will be entering the league with more experience than most rookies despite only playing one season in college. We can only hope that some of Duncan's success, which includes four championships and two league MVP awards, rubs off on Davis and helps him lead the Hornets to a winning season in 2012-13.
The future is wide open for this year's Hornets team, which includes eight new players on the roster. While Davis has had a busy summer, Rivers, another rookie, will also be a young leader, after being raised in a basketball family and experiencing success at every level so far. Coach Monty Williams will have a number of new veteran players to add to his rotation as well, with Lopez, Smith, Anderson and others seemingly eager to begin their Hornets careers.
Much of the Hornets' success this season may come down to the health and attitude of guard Eric Gordon, who has gotten off to a rocky start in New Orleans. However, with the positivity that seems to be surrounding this team, thanks to Davis and the other new players, I expect Gordon to adapt and become a leader himself.
In Davis, the Hornets clearly have a great player and a hard worker. I am excited about the upcoming season and can't wait to see Davis and Gordon bring New Orleans back to the playoffs.
Mike Patton grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. He is a fan of all New Orleans teams, including the Hornets and the UNO Privateers. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.