You don’t have to know much about basketball to know about Anthony Davis and his trusty sidekick, the famous uni-brow. He dominated so much in college that he couldn’t get any better and became the unanimous first overall pick in the draft. The man can flat out ball and he won’t struggle from the beginning because you can’t teach height and length, and he’s got it. The man has an above-average jump shot for a first-year big man and possesses great basketball instincts. I know it’s just preseason, but in his finale Davis looked like a ten year veteran against the Miami Heat blocking Mario Chalmers with his elbow basically, and rising up over anybody to score anyway possible. In his rookie debut, Davis finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds in just 29 minutes and made a statement to the league that he should be feared. Offense shouldn’t be his main contribution as that will come down the road, but on the defensive end we can realistically expect over 10 boards a game as well as becoming the prolific shot blocker he was in college. If he plays majority of the year at the ability he can then there’s no reason he shouldn’t be the runaway Rookie of the Year as well as give the Hornets a legitimate playoff chance.
I mean come on the kid came out of college after one year and already gave himself the nickname sub-zero because he freezes his opponents. He’s also current Boston Celtics’ Head Coach Doc Rivers’ son. With blow by speed and a mindset to attack, attack, attack- this young man could soon blossom into a Derrick Rose caliber player. Rivers had enormous hype in high school with YouTube videos piling in of him destroying students with his deadly cross-over which seemed like it was from an NBA All Star. Then he committed to Duke and the media buzzed as he seemed like a cocky, selfish player and would be coached by the famous Coach K, so how would he respond? Well, Rivers excelled at some points and struggled during others. His highest point of the season came when Duke visited Chapel Hill as Rivers poured in 29 points including the game winning 3 pointer at the buzzer off a ridiculous cross-over. The clip was played on Sports Center for weeks and it officially made him known across the college atmosphere. Throughout the season he struggled with sharing the ball and only averaged 2.1 apg while playing the point guard position. Rivers left the college ranks even though I believe he could have really utilized at least one more year under the famous college coach. Now Austin finds himself in the NBA where the only true ball hog is Kobe Bryant, but no one questions Kobe. The rookie is surrounded by tons of talent headlined by the previously mentioned Anthony Davis. Also with Davis comes instant offense in Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson and a good head coach in Monty Williams. If Rivers learns how to share the proper way and develops a dynamic duo with fellow rookie Davis, then we could have a Hornets team make some moves in the West and creep into the playoff picture quickly. That’s a big “if”, but Rivers has the potential to take over the league with his talented cross over and shot making abilities, he just has to limit his turnovers and play within himself. We’ll see.
If Sullinger had left Ohio State a year prior to this one then he would most likely have been a top 5 pick in the draft. Instead Sully came back to try and win a title, but instead he experienced constant back spasms and had a far less dominating year than year’s past. He hurt his draft stock so much that he plummeted to 21st overall and fell in the lap of the Boston Celtics, a team in desperate need of a big man, rebounding machine. Sullinger is a stocky young fellow at 6’9 270lbs and is a prototypical power forward. He possesses a solid mid-range jump shot and has a great ability to corral rebounds. At the Celtics pick he was no longer as much of a risk as he was for teams earlier in the draft, and with his rebounding ability he can greatly help the team which struggled mightily in rebounds last year. Doc Rivers has a reputation of not playing rookies (i.e JaJuan Johnson last year), but he needs to strongly consider at least giving Sullinger major minutes, if not a starting role because when healthy he can dominate just the same way DeJuan Blair did in his rookie season. Sullinger, if healthy, could help reenergize a Celtics team that needs it more than any other with their aging bunch.
Photo Credit: Chris Detrick | Tribune file photo
This man may not be known by the general NBA fan right now, but in the coming months he could be a star. Lillard drafted by Portland in the 1st round is being regarded as the best point guard in the 2012 draft class. He’ll be starting from the get-go and is the odds on favorite to lead the first-year in assists. Lillard played four years at Weber State, part of the reason he’s not well known, but in my opinion getting the full four years at college will put him ahead of fellow rookie point guards Kendall Marshall and Austin Rivers. In his senior season Lillard emerged as a star averaging over 24 ppg while shooting a blistering 40.9% from downtown. He can knock shots down at the charity strip as well as he finished college with an 86.7% career average, which will bold well for his time in crunch time. He’s experienced, he’s going to get the minutes, and the man can ball. He’ll stand out. In his rookie debut he against the Lakers he scored 23 points and dished out 11 dimes.