Why Anthony Davis should go No. 1
Today Insider begins a three-part debate over who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft. All three of our draft insiders -- Fran Fraschilla, David Thorpe and Chad Ford -- debate the merits of the current top player on Ford's Top 100: University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. Up next week: UNC super sophomore Harrison Barnes.
David Thorpe: Everyone loves players that are this long and agile. Especially when they have a great motor and attitude. A player like that can only get better. And such is the belief with Anthony Davis.
When I consider his story -- he was a guard until a late, and huge, growth spurt sent him to power forward/center -- it makes me think of the similar story of one of the best big men in the NBA today: Joakim Noah. In the span of five seasons as his team's starting center, Noah's won two national titles at Florida and now plays for the Chicago Bulls, which had the NBA's best record in 2010-11. (The Bulls are also the league's best defensive team.)
Noah, who has the hottest motor running of any 7-footer I've ever seen, can thank his feel for the game for much of his success. Most of that comes from being a guard for much of his early career. It forced him to learn the total game, while also giving him very unique advantages on each end of the floor. He can start a fast break with his speed dribble, just like Davis can. Or he can beat a slower opponent just outside the pinch post with a wicked crossover, then set up a teammate for the corner 3 or finish with a dunk himself. Like Noah, both actions are easily in Davis' wheelhouse.
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