I said it with conviction during Kentucky's 2012 title run and I'd ignore you if you disagreed with me presently that Anthony Davis is on his way to becoming one of the best players in the NBA. Top 5 not quite yet, top 10...let's go off the cuff and see.
Lebron one, Durant two. Wait. Stop. Davis is the 5th ranked player in ESPN's metric-ky Hollinger rankings.
20.2 PPG 10 REBS 3 BLKS 52.3 FG% 77.8 FT%. I wanna put that in 36 font.
Hard to argue Davis isn't one of the game's best.
And Davis' Pelicans still for the most part at 23-36, stink.
New Orleans does play in the more challenging conference, but they also caused some of their own problems. I'll paraphrase what I said to a friend who's a Sixers fan salivating for the lottery pick the Pellies owe the Sixers for the Jrue Holiday trade; the Pelicans good players, like Holiday and Ryan Anderson, are hurt and the ones with bad contracts and poor play - Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon - are not.
Review Anthony Davis' numbers again.
If the Davis I watched at UK was going to be in this year's draft I'd select him over any of the players who've been hyped to lead what may wind up being a draft of premature hyperbole.
Davis' 2012 team had what are now three NBA starters in Davis, Michael Kidd Gilchrist and Terrence Jones. It also featured what are now 'guys in the League' in Marquis Teague, Darius Miller and Doron Lamb.
The team had NBA talent just as some of today's top college teams do, but it was Davis' mindbending abilities that stewarded that team to a national title and a dominant 38-2 record. They lost on the road to Indiana by a point and in Vanderbilt's goofy gym in league play. They annihilated Kansas in the title game.
Review Anthony Davis' numbers again.
Even with the challenges that the Pelicans face that I mentioned, Davis hasn't been able to thrust New Orleans into playoff contention his first two years in the league.
Not Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker nor Julius Randle (whose team is closer to an NIT rematch with Robert Morris than a top seed!) are guiding their teams as Davis did as a freshman.
Time will judge the talent on the Kansas, Duke and UK rosters, but with those teams combining for 21 losses, I'd be cautious of expecting those players to be the great elixir to barren franchises like the Sixers, Bucks and Jazz.
Wiggins has been compared to Lebron. I hope those comparisons have been tabled for now.
Wiggins, who's on court presence has been questioned at times, wasn't able to help vault Kansus to a victory in a tight game against an unranked Oklahoma State team on Saturday night. 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 turnovers. 16 and 6 are about his averages for the season.
Wiggins may develop into an All Star caliber guard, but you're gonna wanna borrow someone else's urine if you think Wiggins, Parker, or any of these lauded freshman headed towards the draft will come within the same continent of Lebron James rookie year.
21 PPG 5.5 RBG 6 ASTS.
Year 2 went to 27/7/7.
This year's draft may be brimming with more talent that last June's humble offerings, but let's not for a moment think any of these players, at this point, appear to be transformational to a franchise. Not now anyway.
If I did have the top pick though, I'd probably go with Parker.
There IS a Pistons angle with this.
Granted, they constructed the garbage that currently is their roster, and they'll have to work from that, but let's say they kept their precious 8th pick.
How's that player gonna help, and where would he play?! Especially considering this is now TWO rookies in consecutive years whose minutes they've jerked around.
I'm telling you, he's not gonna be an all star, but KCP should be OK. As long as the Pistons get out of the way of his development.
For those keeping track, Trey Burke no longer an ROY candidate. I think Burke will get all star consideration many years, but I don't think he's a lock like an Irving or Paul. If you haven't looked lately, he's struggled. His FGs are down to 37% and 34% on 3s. His 2s are pretty horrific 40%. Burke's hitting 35% of his 2s that aren't layups. For context, Josh Smith is hitting 31% of those. Burke's number bests Smith's because of his 42% on 2s beyond 16 feet but less than 3 distance.
Yeesh. Sorry for all those numbers.
Perhaps the Pistons plan all along was to create a team just terrible enough to miss the playoffs, and lose their pick, yet lack the roster hole to plug with that pick anyway.