Anthony Davis pretty much fell backwards on to the London Olympic team. Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski like him as a prospect, but it took injuries to Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin (his in training camp) for Team USA to get desperate enough to grab the No. 1 overall pick of the Hornets.
He got some run — he was basically a human victory cigar and averaged 4.3 points a game — but that was not the big deal. It was the confidence, Anthony told the Times-Picayune (via SLAM).
“Those guys on the Olympic team treated me like I belonged and it boosted my confidence,” Davis said this past weekend from New York where he was participating in the NBA’s rookie transition program. “When I got in games, I felt more confidence. They talked to me and told me what to do, so it definitely was great.”
“A lot of them shared their perspective on the game and the whole team took me under their wings and showed me the ropes,” Davis said.
Even for the best college players, the NBA is an adjustment — it’s a job now. You’ve got 82 games, a lot more travel, a lot more is expected of you on the court, there are a lot more temptations off it. You have to learn to be professional.
Anthony Davis just got a crash course in it from the very best players walking the planet. He got to see Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, he got to see how Kevin Durant prepares himself, how LeBron James handles games and fame. That is invaluable stuff to soak up. It pushes him along the learning curve so much farther, so much faster than his fellow rookies. He may or may not be the Rookie of the Year, but he is the guy expected to lead the Hornets into the future, and he just watched 11 of the best guys in team leading up close. That is huge.
Plus, the gold medal is pretty sweet.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.