Anthony Davis is less than a week from starting his NBA career. He was the No. 1 pick in the draft, already has an Olympic gold medal in his possession, and yet he said he does not feel like he belongs in the league featuring the best players in the world.
”I just feel like a guy who’s just playing basketball right now,” the New Orleans Hornets rookie said. ”Until I play an NBA game, then I (can’t) consider myself an NBA player.”
He might not feel like he’s in the NBA yet, but Davis surely is preparing for it. Davis said he has hit the weight room to add some muscle to his 220 pounds on his 60foot-11 frame. He said he was not sure how much he has gained, but he looks and feels stronger.
Overall, he said his game is stronger, having gone through the Olympic training camp with some of the NBA’s best players.
”My game developed more than what I expected just by playing the Olympics and being around them guys,” Davis said. ”But there’s still a lot to learn and a lot more to do so I’ve got to continue working.”
Davis is staying away from offering any expectations for how the Hornets might do this season. He knows they have talent in not only him, but 10th overall draft pick Austin Rivers and veterans Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. Davis also will have help in the paint from 7-footers Robin Lopez sand Jason Smith.
”We’re rebuilding so that’s going to be tough,” Davis said. ”But I think we’re going to have a great team this year.”
Hornets coach Monty Williams preaches a defense-first philosophy, which tDavis expects to suit him well as a shot-blocker who can play power forward or center in a zone defense.
Being a top overall pick generally brings with it pressure to perform right away, but Davis said he is not worried about that, partly because of Williams’ philosophy that the job of young players is to learn and develop, not carry the team.
”Coach Williams does a great job of taking that pressure off of me and putting it on the team and organization,” Davis said. ”We’re all young guys. I’m 19 years old going into a grown man’s league. I think he does a great job taking that pressure off of one player, not just me. Eric, Austin, Robin, everybody on the team and just trying to put it on the organization and team as one.”