Anthony Davis might be the most physically gifted power forward since Kevin Garnett. His length, stride, will, and energy are eye-catching to say the least, and when you can say with confidence that at worst he will be a much better version of JaVale McGee and at best he can be at least as good as KG, that is a pretty good starting point.
Beyond the physical, though, Davis really piqued my interest by doing some pretty impressive things from a game understanding standpoint. With thinner players, there is a continual concern about their physicality. However, that worry was put to rest early with Davis. He initiated contact off the ball continually, willing to meet opponents with an arm bar in the chest or back and not backing down when more experienced players attempted to intimidate him. In addition, young players often make the mistake of constantly attempting to block the shot of the players they are guarding, which often leaves them out of position at best and fouling at worst. It is simply a low-percentage play. Davis, however, challenges the shot of his matchup, then moves to rebounding position effectively. He also sees the value in going for weakside blocks, and moves into those areas quickly, giving the offense a chance to feel safe before uncoiling for the block.
Davis races the floor, which is a major positive (and is breathtaking to watch), and he will pick up points just by virtue of his speed and commitment in transition. However, he is often out of position on the offensive end, and seems a little lost between being a post player and being a perimeter player. This is definitely teachable, and his season at Kentucky should help him in that regard. He plays well as the screen and roll player, holding his screen long enough and timing his roll to the basket well.
In the post, however, Davis needs to recognize spots to seal his defender after he rolls when he doesn’t receive the ball immediately. In addition, he does not take advantage of his defender being out of position after skip passes, and lets the defender move around him much too easily. Anticipation here is the key, Coach Cal will be teaching Davis how to recognize what will be available at least one pass ahead of time. Davis will get easy scoring chances by carving out that spot and claiming it as his own, then demanding the ball once it gets to the player who can find him. This comes through experience.
Overall, there are few prospects over the last few years to be as excited about as Anthony Davis. Watching him grow and mature over this season should be a real gift for basketball fans and whoever picks first in his draft.