It is safe to say that the U.S. Olympic team would have won the gold even without the efforts of 12th man and incoming rookie Anthony Davis. He may have been the Christian Laettner of this team, but that does not take away how much potential he has and how these Olympics could take him and his game to another level. Practicing, playing and spending the summer with 11 of the best players in the world, including Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, two of the best players of all time, is an amazing opportunity for any rookie. Being able to play with all-time greats before ever stepping onto an NBA court, will do wonders to his game and confidence as over the summer he has learned what it takes to be a true professional, how to be the best player that he can be. He was given such a rare opportunity that he is in better shape than any rookie in recent memory and should be even more the favorite for Rookie of the Year, than he already was.
Davis was added to the team at the last minute, as American big men kept falling and they were painfully short upfront. The truth is that most do not realize that the majority of big man talent in the NBA comes from overseas and after the team lost Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge, the cupboard of elite US big men was bare. The team had more than enough scoring, but needed defense down low and GM Jerry Colangelo and Coach Mike Krzyzewski realized that there were few better than Davis on defense and he would also give them the option of having an elite shot blocker, which is something that they truly lacked. So because of a mix of luck and talent, Davis was given the opportunity to play for his country and win gold.
Davis already has elite skills, especially on defense and although he needs a little bit of work on offense, he has every ingredient to be a special player at the next level. What he now has is a summer’s worth of playing with and against the best players in the world and getting constant coaching from some of the best coaches in the league. The knowledge he gained is priceless and the confidence he gained by being able to play his game among the best has certainly boosted his confidence. He is a rookie unlike any in years, one who already knows what it takes to win and knows that they have the talent to match up with the best in the league. It would be a shock if Davis is not Rookie of the Year, who else has a chance?