Charlotte Bobcats Salivating Over Davis

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Charlotte Bobcats Salivating Over Davis

Post  Carolina Kat on Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:31 am

NBA draft: Kentucky's Anthony Davis is more than ultimate shot blocker
Kentucky star, likely top NBA pick, is a big man with offensive skills of a guard.

By Rick Bonnell
Posted: Saturday, Mar. 10, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan has a warning for any team on Kentucky's NCAA tournament path:

You think you know Anthony Davis' shot-blocking. You don't know. This must be experienced to be understood.

"I think the worst thing to do is guess that he can't block your shot," Donovan said, after Davis and the Wildcats beat the Gators the third time this season in the SEC semifinals Saturday. "It's one of those things where, unless you've played against it a couple of times, it really can take you off-guard.

"You think you can get the ball up on the glass. You think you can get it over him. And that's the wrong thing."

Davis, a 6-foot 10 freshman, has 154 blocks this season. That's not just the most individually in the country. It's more than all but 37 teams in Division I basketball. That, by itself, would be evidence why 30-some NBA scouts, including Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho, filled five rows courtside at the SEC tournament Saturday.

But Davis is so much more: He's a remarkably quick leaper with crisp footwork. He has the best hands ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas recalls among college big men. He can dribble and pass, owing from his days as a high school guard in Chicago.

And Saturday, for the third straight game, he did something college big men almost never do: He swished a 3-pointer with confidence and touch off a pick-and-pop play that is far more NBA than college-like.

The Bobcats have the worst record in the NBA, and it's a reasonable expectation that won't change over the remaining 27 games this season. That doesn't guarantee the Bobcats the first pick, since the NBA holds a weighted lottery to determine the top three picks. But it would give them the best odds of the first pick at 25 percent.

It's a given that if Davis turns pro, any team with the top pick will select him.

"He's the real thing: Really, really good and a worker, too," said Bilas, a Charlottean and former Duke center. Bilas coached Davis as an instructor at the Nike Skills Academy, so he knows first-hand.

"Not only does he have an extraordinary ability level, but his level of toughness stood out," Bilas said. "He's obviously not as big and strong (a slim 220 pounds) as some other guys, but he was never reluctant to go after anyone. And he has the best pair of hands around.

"Honestly, he's got everything; I can't think of an area where you'd say he's deficient."

The shot-blocking would be particularly appealing to the Bobcats, since they give up more than 47 points per game in the lane this season. Even with rookie center Bismack Biyombo averaging 1.8 blocks, the Bobcats need more help keeping opponents away from the rim.

Bilas notes that Davis isn't just a goalie standing an arm's length from the basket.

"He basically covers up the basket from 14 feet and in," Bilas said, adding that Davis often finds teammates with his blocks: "A lot of guys block shots. He redirects a block to a teammate like the outlet pass of a fast break."

Offensively, Davis has skills - dribbling, passing, shooting range - you don't typically associate with big men, particularly freshmen big men. That's in part because he hasn't always been big. He was a 6-foot-3 guard until he was 16 and experienced a sudden 7-inch growth spurt.

"When you're a guard, you develop great hands," Davis said, following a 74-71 victory over Florida in which he totaled 15 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and three assists. "Most bigs won't have those hands. It really helps when they're throwing you lobs or quick passes. It's both being able to catch it and finish around the rim."

His shot is guard-like, too, although it took longer for Kentucky to exploit that. Four games ago, in a 79-49 blowout of Georgia, Davis strayed to the top of the key, the ball found him and no Bulldogs player got out on him.

He made this shot all the time in practice and in high school. Why not now? So he shot ... and swished. And now he's made a 3-pointer in three straight games, entering today's SEC final against Vanderbilt (1 p.m., WSOC-TV, Ch. 9).

On Saturday, Davis set a screen 20 feet from the basket at the end of the first half. The ball reversed back to him, he turned his shoulder, and in one confident motion nailed his latest 3. It's no longer a surprise.

"I was confident shooting it from the get-go. When the looks come, I shoot the ball and try to make them," Davis said. Opponents "watch tape, and they know now, too."

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Carolina Kat

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Re: Charlotte Bobcats Salivating Over Davis

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:14 am

What sucks is I hate seeing this kids go to sucky teams. But I guess I would play on one if I got paid millions.

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