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Detroit Pistons #DraftDreams: Anthony Davis


  • Measurables: 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, freshman C from Kentucky
  • Key Stats: 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 4.7 (!) blocks per game while shooting 62 percent from the field
  • Projected: No. 1 overall
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I’m intrigued by this guy

The analysis here is pretty simple. Davis changes everything for the Pistons. Yesterday, when Dan Feldman talked about this being the second most important draft lottery in team history, he wrote that because of Davis. This draft has exactly one franchise-altering talent available. If the Pistons get him, all of the misery and bad basketball of the past four seasons will be quickly forgotten. Davis, simply, is a once-in-a-generation type talent and, other than possibly LeBron James, the easiest No. 1 pick in the last 20 years.

Pros for the Pistons

We’ve frequently discussed the need for the Pistons to add a rim-protecting presence next to Greg Monroe, and Davis and his nearly five blocks per game for Kentucky would certainly represent that. He’d instantly make the Pistons a credible defensive team. It’s easy to see him having a Ben Wallace or Dwight Howard-like impact in the league, winning multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards down the road.

But fans should be equally excited about Davis’ offense. He runs the floor well (which will help run-happy guards Brandon Knight and Rodney Stuckey). He throws great outlet passes, which should further ignite Detroit’s transition game. He finishes well, which will help pass-happy Monroe. He has the face-up game of a guard and handles the ball really well (a product of the fact that Davis hit a growth spurt late in his teenage years and spent most of his early basketball days as a guard), which helps the team as a whole, since they could use another big man capable of creating his own offense (playing offensively limited Wallace or Jason Maxiell big minutes often hindered Detroit’s ability to score this season).

If the Pistons don’t win the lottery and end up with a nice prospect like John Henson, they’re a good bet to take a baby step forward next year and threaten the .500 mark or a low seed in the playoffs. If they win the lottery and get Davis, they’ll be a trendy pick to get at the very least a homecourt advantage playoff series in the first round.

Cons for the Pistons

There are none.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

Big man Anthony Davis is a lock as the No. 1 pick in the draft. The college basketball player of the year is the rare prospect who has virtually everything you want in a player. He’s got elite size, length and athleticism. He produced at a high level on the court (he led all NCAA players in PER this season) and still has tremendous upside going forward. He’s a great kid and a hard worker.

Yes, he needs to get stronger and he’ll need to continue to improve his offensive game, but at this point he’s considered a can’t-miss prospect by every NBA scout and executive I’ve spoken to.


He’s only fifth in usage rate on his own Kentucky team in fact, being mostly relegated to living off the scraps created for him by others. Davis gets the overwhelming majority of his touches playing off the ball—be it cutting to the rim, crashing the offensive glass, running the floor in transition, or as a pick and roll finisher. According to Synergy Sports Technology, only 20% of his offense comes off post-up, spot-up or isolation plays, which makes sense considering those are the areas he struggles in the most.

While Davis plays a simple role for Kentucky, he’s arguably the most efficient offensive player in college basketball, converting an amazing 67% of his 2-point attempts (which ranks in the top 15 in our database in the past decade) and turning the ball over on just 9% of his possessions. He’s one of the best finishers we’ve seen in recent years, making nearly 80% of his non-post-up attempts around the basket.

His tremendous length, outstanding hands, explosive leaping ability and terrific timing make him a ideal target for lobs.


Bullet outlet passes are a major strength … Can handle the ball in space with occasional facilitation of the offense, and does not appear limited to straight line drives … Commits under a turnover per game as a freshman big, highlighting his guard skills … Still only 18 years of age, Davis grew 7 inches (6’3-6’10) between his HS junior and senior seasons … Dynamic versatility at both ends of the floor makes for boundless potential.

USA Today:

The Pistons already have Greg Monroe, and adding Davis would create a fearsome post tandem. Monroe is a terrific passer, and we envision a lot of give-and-gos.

What is the best thing Anthony Davis does for his team?

Kevin Hetrick of Cavs: The Blog:

Davis dominated the NCAA in a rarely exhibited way.  The scary thing is, he can get a lot better.  His shooting range is still unreliable, his back-to-the-basket game is raw, he’s too skinny…if he never improves on any of this; he’ll still be a low-usage, high-efficiency center that dominates one end of the court.   With strides in his offensive game and a little more muscle on his frame; could he win an MVP?



  • May 30, 201211:12 am
    by Alan


    Cons for the Pistons: There are none.

    C’mon now, even Davis has his cons.  Here are two:
    1.)  He’s not ready to play inside in the NBA for an 82 game season.  He’s only 220 lbs and we saw, at times, college kids seal him off and even push him around a bit.  Imagine Davis against lesser skilled, but strong NBA bigs like a Reggie Evans or a Erick Dampier.  And now imagine him agains skilled AND strong bigs like Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard.  Davis is great, don’t get me wrong, but he needs some time to adjust to the NBA game.

    2.) Exactly what position does he play?  I’ve see him as a 5, a 4/5 and a 3/4.  That’s a bit of an unknown. 

    • May 30, 201212:05 pm
      by RyanK


      The unibrow is definitely a con…I don’t want to look at that thing for 15 seasons!

      • May 30, 201212:27 pm
        by tarsier


        Agreed. Why on earth has he not shaved/waxed/plucked/laser removed that thing? Davis’ game is a thing of beauty, but the player himself will always be an ugly dude as long as he is sporting it.

    • May 30, 201212:28 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Sorry, but no. There are no cons to the Pistons getting the unquestioned best prospect in the draft. Absolutely none.

      • May 30, 20121:16 pm
        by tarsier


        No reason to wish for anything but that outcome. But every player has cons in his game.

        • May 30, 20121:25 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          The title of the section says ‘Cons for the Pistons,’ of which there are none, not ‘Cons about Anthony Davis.’

          Yes, Davis has two noticeable flaws, he’s very skinny and has to fill out more and he doesn’t have much of a back to the basket game yet. But that’s really it, and those things don’t matter all that much considering how well he does a lot of other things already.

          • May 30, 20122:09 pm
            by tarsier

            Ah, good point. I’m just used to thinking about it as cons in the players’ games.

  • May 30, 201211:27 am
    by France


    I pray the Lord to get the first pick tonight.

    • May 30, 201211:37 am
      by Eric


      Number one pick pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. No mediocre treadmill!

  • May 30, 201211:58 am
    by BIG MARV


    Welp Like Biggie said IT WAS ALL A DREAM! yall better bring your lucky coins, draws, rabbits foot, four leaf clover, put on your old stanky Jr. High football jersey you never washed, becuse it got you a piece of booty in the 10th grade. Cause you gonna need all of that if you think detroit will get the #1-3 pic.

  • May 30, 201212:03 pm
    by RyanK


    The last 20 years Shaq and Duncan both were in the draft.  I doubt the obvious 1st choice was more certain for Davis than those two players.
    I hope we get the number one pick and Davis turns out to be everything he’s supposed to.

    • May 30, 201212:08 pm
      by jay_uno



      plus, i don´t think the pistons would get homecourt next season after picking davis.. i would still see miami, chicago, boston, indiana, atlanta and philly ahead of us.. 7th or 8th seed sounds about right

      • May 30, 201212:32 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        They’d be in the convo. If Monroe and Knight continue to improve, Davis is what we think he is and Stuckey is healthy, it’s conceivable Detroit could leap Indiana, Atlanta and Philly. Plus, Boston might look very different next season and age/health could cause them to drop down a notch or two at any time.

        • May 30, 20121:32 pm
          by tarsier


          Yeah, it’s impossible to say how Boston will look in a couple months.

    • May 30, 201212:24 pm
      by tarsier


      I was thinking the exact same thing. Although Shaq only questionably qualifies. If by “the last 20 years”, Patrick meant 20 drafts including this year’s, then Shaq’s ’92 draft would be the 21st one going backwards. But Duncan was as obvious a draft choice as it gets, more so even than LBJ or Davis. It is very rare that a player has the highest floor and highest ceiling in the draft. Duncan fit that description. Davis does not.

      • May 30, 201212:30 pm
        by Patrick Hayes


        Ah, forgot Duncan. It would be James, Duncan, Davis in the last 20 drafts, in that order, I think when it comes to guys who were unequivocally the No. 1 pick by the time of the draft lottery.

        • May 30, 20121:43 pm
          by Tom Y.


          Duncan over James, for sure. You could say James has had better numbers, but 4 championships (and a 5th probably coming) tops 0 so far. Or maybe you were talking about perception before the draft, but I’m pretty sure there was more certainty about Duncan than there was about Lebron.

          Also, although Davis is amazing and clearly the right pick at #1, his slight frame could cause some problems, and maybe he’d be a bit at risk to get injured? Of course I’d be happy if we got him, just saying…

          • May 30, 20121:51 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            Definitely talking pre-draft, so the pro accomplishments are irrelevant. I know people thought Duncan was great, he was for sure the consensus No. 1. But let’s be real … Lebron was on the cover of SI as a HS junior with the headline ‘Chosen One’ and was called the ‘heir to Jordan.’ There was no way he wasn’t getting picked No. 1. Teams tanked for two years in order to get a better chance at Lebron.

          • May 30, 20122:14 pm
            by tarsier

            So do you really think Davis is a more obvious first pick than Griffin? They seem very comparable to me. Both are outstanding players aided by the fact there is nobody who really appears worthy of the 2nd overall pick. That is incidentally also why I would put Duncan over James. James was the more hyped of the two going in. But Anthony and Milicic were in his draft class. Who came anywhere close to competing with Duncan? Van Horn and Billups?

          • May 30, 20128:48 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            “So do you really think Davis is a more obvious first pick than Griffin?”

            They are both obvious first picks. The difference is Davis is coming in with the hype of being this generation’s Bill Russell defensively. He’s been compared to everyone from Russell to Kevin Garnett. Blake was a known can’t-miss star, but I just don’t think he had quite the hype that Davis has.

    • May 30, 201212:30 pm
      by tarsier


      Anthony Davis is about as obvious a first overall pick as Blake Griffin.

  • May 30, 201212:13 pm
    by Daye and Knight


    If we can get the #1 pick and have Davis paired up with Monroe we would easily have one of the best front court duo’s in the league…which would be huge since that’s always been our problem. I’m afraid if we pick 9 we’ll reach for a big that has no business in the top 10 (Leonard) who by the way was out played by Zeller during workouts yesterday.

  • May 30, 20121:02 pm
    by Jeremy


    If the lottery plays out in favor of the odds and the Bobcats end up with the #1 spot, there is a small part of me that sees them actually not taking Davis. They have far bigger needs than what I would equate to be a Marcus Camby/Tyson Chandler-esque center (both of which I would take in a heart beat). I mean their leading scorer was Gerald Henderson at 15.1 ppg and Maggette was right behind at 15 ppg. They took Byiombo and also have Mullins as a big. D.J. Augustin is a restricted free agent this season and could see some offers from teams that need a pg. Corey Magette is also getting up there in age. Then there is the “Jordan-Factor” and the fact that the only part of his life that hasn’t turned to gold are his draft picks. To me MKG, Beal, and even Barnes make sense for them.

    Could/Should they look to trade down and pick up extra picks this year? Cleveland has 2 first rounders this year – 1 with potential top 3 pick odds and 1 in the 20′s. Would make sense for both parties to work that deal out.

    I give Davis a 95.68% chance of being the #1 pick, with the remaining 4.32% being attributed to the fact that the guy who is making the selection also took Kwame #1.

    • May 30, 20121:42 pm
      by tarsier


      Kwame Brown came in a year with no obvious number one pick. Kinda like last year if more more guys had declared.

  • May 30, 20121:22 pm
    by Mike Payne


    A fitting end to a great series.  Thanks for all the work you did on these, Patrick, so well done.  Lady luck, come calling tonight, okay?

  • May 30, 20123:00 pm
    by djunak


    Great series I looked foward to it every week…….now lets win the lottery..

  • May 30, 20126:02 pm
    by Desolation Row


    If we win the draft lottery I’m growing a unibrow!!!!

  • May 30, 20127:09 pm
    by bob


    should have done one on dion waiters

  • May 30, 20128:51 pm
    by Patrick Hayes


    @MFMP and djunak:

    Don’t fret, Draft Dreams will continue through June. There are still a handful of second round prospects I plan to profile as well as one or two more possibilities at No. 9 (I haven’t profiled Henson yet, for example, who is the early favorite to be their pick).


    I considered doing one on Waiters, but I changed my mind. First, virtually no one has him going in the top 15. Second, he’s a shooting guard, of which the Pistons really don’t need in round one, so there’s little chance they’d reach for him at 9. Third, there’s no chance he falls to them in the second round. The only wings I could see them maybe, maybe considering at 9 would be Lamb or Rivers. I think Waiters is a notch below those two.

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