Anthony Davis will be the number one draft pick in 2012. Unless something unpredictable happens – Deciding not to join the NBA or actually not being the #1 pick. Already some have predicted that his ability to turn a team around will be nothing short of magical, worth 50 wins, no matter where he gets to play.
That sound like an exaggeration. Is he good as David Robinson, Tim Duncan? Larry Brown compared him to Wilt and Oscar. That good? Right out of the gun, hall of fame good? I think it depends on the team he lands in. He’s a monster on defense, and has some nice moves offensively, but he’s still unpolished. Marcus Camby? Looks better than Camby, at least in theory. How good can he be? It’ll be dumb to guess. How effective will he be? Depending on the team.
The NBA draft isn’t a perfect system. The lottery gives teams that are bad, real bad, the worst, a chance to get the best player in the draft, or at least a better chance than the rest. It doesn’t always work out that way, and teams that did decently and missed the playoffs by a bit suddenly get the ball to drop their way and come up with a franchise changing pick.
Just like the Orlando Magic in 1993. They already had Shaq, which made them a 41-41 team, and somehow, by some stroke of luck, they got the number one pick again. They chose Webber, traded him to Golden State and got Penny Hardaway, reaching the NBA finals a year later. Eventually, no title came to Orlando but they were immediately turned into one of the best teams in the league.
Why should teams that keep wasting away their excellent draft picks be rewarded? The Charlotte Bobcats have been in this vicious cycle for years. They still haven’t gotten a number one pick, but they’ve had a #2, a #5, a #3, a #8 and two #9’s. Their best pick out of these? Probably Raymond Felton, but he’s no longer there. Why should teams who have terrible GMs keep getting rewarded for making bad picks, bad trades and throwing money away?
I’m definitely not the first to suggest an even lottery, with the same chance across the board, but it never hurts suggesting again. Luck helps, talent helps, but teams usually succeed through good decisions by the people in the front office. There are more factors than that, but I’m pretty confident that having a good General Manager whatever you wanna call the position of the person calling the shots, is the first and most important thing any sports franchise needs.
So what would be a good spot for Davis? What non-playoff bound team would benefit from his arrival the most, and also benefit him, placed in a good situation? First name that comes to mind would be the Timberwolves, who looked like they were heading to the postseason before Rubio got injured. Now? They’ll be somewhere in the middle of the pack, with tons of talent. Getting Davis to team up with Kevin Love in the front court? Having Rubio throw him lobs? Finally get the Timberwolves some solid defense in the paint? Might even be contenders all of a sudden.
I’ll leave the teams still in the playoff hunt of this, although Utah, Houston and the Bucks are all good places to land in my opinion. Phoenix? It all depends on Steve Nash. The Bobcats? A black hole, and let’s hope he doesn’t end up there. Even Michael Jordan is rumored to be sick of losing, and losing money. Although those are just rumors.
The Cleveland Cavaliers showed some positive signs until March, falling way behind. They might have a really good chance of landing Davis, just like Washington. A combo with either Irving or John Wall could be finger licking good for those who love alley-oops, but Davis doesn’t look like a player, that right now, can hold an offense on his own, or take most of it on his back. Washington tend to make bad decision anyway.
How about Portland? Sounds like a good fit, right? Only if you don’t believe in curses and bad luck. No one wants to see Davis retired at 25 with no ligaments in his knees. But that’s only if you’re the superstitious type. The Pistons? another nice option, teaming up with Greg Monroe in the paint, having a Kentucky alum beside him (Brandon Knight).
So where? Again, I’d like to see him in Minneapolis. I think both he and the team would make the most of that. The Timberwolves would become a popular, trendy team outside of their small market in my opinion, just like the Clippers have been starting to do these last couple of years. But good things and wishful thinking all rely on a lottery of balls with names in them. They don’t always bring happy endings.