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.
“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.