COMMENTARY | There is no question that Anthony Davis is the future of the New Orleans Hornets. His raw athleticism, ball-handling skills, and leaping ability make him a unique talent. However, at 19 years of age, Davis is anything but a finished product. Recently, Davis has struggled mightily for New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the Hornets have another power forward on their roster with a completely different skill set. Ryan Anderson is leading the NBA in made three-pointers and is unquestionably one of New Orleans' best two players, despite coming off the bench. Should Hornets coach Monty Williams bench Anthony Davis in favor of Ryan Anderson?
First, this article is not a discussion about wins and losses in the 2012-13 Hornets season. I'm not proposing that New Orleans would instantly become a playoff contender if Anderson and Davis swapped roles. In fact, despite coming off the bench, Ryan Anderson is averaging four more minutes per game than Anthony Davis is for the Hornets.
But in his last four games, Davis has a grand total of 19 points and 22 rebounds. Of greater concern is his .290 shooting percentage over that time. In his last two games, Davis is 1-13 for the Hornets. Anderson has 79 points in the Hornets' last four outings including a 31-point effort in New Orleans' win on Monday night.
My concern is that if Anthony Davis continues to struggle for New Orleans, he may lose his confidence and swagger. Monty Williams' strength is player development. Greivis Vasquez and Al-Farouq Aminu have improved tremendously under Williams' tutelage. Davis will make strides and learn his craft just by participating in Hornets' practices.
Another concern is the fact that Anthony Davis doesn't even seem to be a part of New Orleans' offense when he's on the court. He gets very few touches and the Hornets don't run plays for him. On the other end, he isn't strong enough to defend against the NBA's bigger centers and forwards.
One look at the heavy minutes that the struggling Austin Rivers is getting shows that Williams believes in learning on the job. But Rivers usually comes off the bench for New Orleans and I believe there's less pressure to perform in this role. In fact, Davis may experience success going against second-tier NBA big men if Ryan Anderson was the starter.
The last thing the Hornets want is for their gold medalist, first overall draft pick to start doubting his abilities. Maybe the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will give Davis an opportunity to start having fun again and stop pressing. While Anthony Davis struggles through the transition of becoming an NBA player, Ryan Anderson would be the perfect caretaker at PF for the New Orleans Hornets.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He 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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