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poetics 08-06-2012 06:06 PM

Let The Valanciunas, Anthony Davis Comparisons Begin
 
Interesting read on Valanciunas and Anthony Davis - Who do you feel will come out on top 'career wise' when all is said and done?

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Let The Valanciunas, Anthony Davis Comparisons Begin
By: Jonathan Tjarks
Aug 06, 2012 10:38 AM EDT

Neither Anthony Davis nor Jonas Valanciunas, the two youngest basketball players in the Olympics, were much of a factor in Team USAís narrow 99-95 victory over Lithuania. Valanciunas, despite starting for Lithuania, played nine minutes while Davis stayed on the bench in the Americans' first tight game in London.

If David Stern and Mark Cuban donít get their way, that could be a very different story in 2016 (when Valanciunas would be 24 and Davis would be 23), 2020 and maybe even 2024, where they would both be younger than Kobe Bryant is now. Teenagers donít arenít generally involved in high-level international competitions, an indication of what Hubie Brown would call their ďtremendous upside potentialĒ.

But while they both wound up as top NBA lottery picks, they took radically different paths to get there. Itís very Rocky IV: Valanciunas is the Ivan Drago character, signed to a professional contract in his adolescence. Davis is the raw American, emerging essentially from nowhere as a high school junior to become the best player in the country.

Before his late growth spurt, Davis was an unheralded 6í4 perimeter player being recruited by mid-major colleges. Then he suddenly grew to 6í10 without losing any of his foot-speed. The result was the ideal combination of a centerís size and a guardís quickness.

Valanciunas is a more conventional big man, with excellent athleticism for a 6í11, 240 center. He was identified at an extremely young age as a promising prospect, a pro by the age of 16. Two years later, he was playing for Lietuvos Rytas in the Euroleague, the second best pro league in the world.

At Kentucky, Davis was the defensive lynchpin of one of the most talented collegiate teams in a long time. The Wildcats had the No. 1, 2, 18, 29, 42 and 46 selections in the 2012 NBA Draft, and they were far too talented for most of their opponents. Their final record speaks for itself: 38-2, with only three of those wins (and none in the NCAA Tournament) coming by fewer than five points.

Valanciunas, meanwhile, was playing with players twice his age. As a result, he was a role player, rarely creating his own shot. In that context, his 2012 Eurocup stats are fairly impressive: 10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks on 63% shooting in 23 minutes a night.

Davis was dominant at Kentucky -- 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 (!) blocks on 65% shooting -- but itís hard to imagine him having more success than Valanciunas if their roles had been reversed. When adjusted for pace and per-40 minutes, Valanciunas averaged 18.9 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks a game in 2012.

He would have adapted easily to the role Davis had for Kentucky - running the floor, moving the ball and catching lobs at the rim. The talent gap between the Wildcats and the other 11 teams in the SEC was about as wide as the one between Team USA and the other 11 teams in London. Valanciunas, Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Darius Miller, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague would still have been a huge favorite to win the Final Four.

Davis, a more fluid athlete, is the better defensive prospect. At 6í11, 220 with a 7í6 wingspan, his quickness, length and defensive timing allow him to be a dominant shot-blocker without getting in foul trouble (only 2.4 a game at Kentucky). In contrast, Valanciunasí biggest problem next year will be his rate of 5.6 fouls per 40 minutes, an improvement from 8.2 per 40 in 2011.

On the other side of the floor, Valanciunas has developed some basic post moves, which is all a player with his size and length (7í4 wingspan) needs to score. He used a jump hook to shoot over the top of Tyson Chandler and Ronny Turiaf in London, and while it didnít always go in, all they could do was wave at the ball and hope he missed. Davis, meanwhile, will struggle establishing deep post position next year, so heíll have to either get stronger or refine his perimeter jumper.

Both are part of a new wave of big men of small-ball centers, making up for what they lack in pure strength with great length and lateral quickness. Neither has the bulk to bang with mammoth centers like Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, but theyíre well suited to the more perimeter-oriented game the NBA is moving towards.

Where they go from here is unclear: just because a 20-year old could grow into something doesnít necessarily mean they will. Maybe Davis never adds any weight and drifts out on the perimeter, where his skill-set is less valuable. Maybe Valanciunas maxes out as a more skilled version of Andris Biedrins, a big man not good enough to dominate offensively or athletic enough to dominate defensively.

Like almost all young centers, their development will depend heavily on the environment their team puts them in. Davis has a higher ceiling than Valanciunas, but the difference between the two isnít nearly as high as their pre-draft publicity would suggest.

Read more: Let The Valanciunas Anthony Davis Comparisons Begin - RealGM

halphbreedballer 08-06-2012 06:24 PM

Davis IMO he has some guard skills in a big defensive man's body.
Sky is his limit.

rb 08-06-2012 07:13 PM

yeah, davis has the slight edge just based on his defensive instincts alone. he is better defensively than val and can be just as good offensively, however good that may be.

Admiral 08-06-2012 07:13 PM

its been publicly and widely broadcast that if JV was in the draft this year he would have been the unanimous #2 overall pick and Davis was the unanimous #1 overall pick

so that clearly means everyone already thinks Davis is going to be the better player, who am I to think differently than all the "experts"

jeffb 08-06-2012 07:18 PM

I voted Valanciunas. What the hell....:)

Superjudge 08-06-2012 07:34 PM

I find it hard to pick between them because I have never seen JV play college ball, nor Davis play pro in Europe.

RaptorsandBuckeye FaN 08-07-2012 12:13 AM

Never really seen Val played yet so hard to judge. I've seen Davis though and he is a freak. Scary good prospect.

finstock 08-07-2012 02:11 AM

Seems like an easy decision - Anthony Davis, consensus #1 pick, player of the year, gaudy stats, etc. However, if Val reaches his potential, as a true center (a more scarce commodity), he may be more valuable to his team.

Windex 08-07-2012 04:05 AM

Davis, a 6'10'' guard, can play 3 positions and guard 4 positions. versatility is more important in present day NBA.

rapsmannn 08-07-2012 05:14 AM

its hard to put these guys up against each other becauae there both from different draft classes even though there both rookies this year

kanter/ thompson/ valanciunus

whos better

jeffb 08-07-2012 05:39 AM

Am I the only one that thinks Davis will be good but won't quite live up to the hype?

DocHoliday99 08-07-2012 08:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 676455)
Am I the only one that thinks Davis will be good but won't quite live up to the hype?

Not the only one.

DanH 08-07-2012 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 676385)
I voted Valanciunas. What the hell....:)

Ha - me too. I'm feeling homeristic of late.

creative1mm 08-07-2012 09:09 AM

Quote:

Am I the only one that thinks Davis will be good but won't quite live up to the hype?
Well.. the kid has all the tools to becoming a successful NBA player, he is like Marcus Camby with guard skills.. and he has allot of confidense

as long as he works hard and spends time in the weight room, I see him being a good player

LX 08-07-2012 09:54 AM

I hope it's too early to say and that it will come down to who each of them end up playing alongside.

carp 08-07-2012 10:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 676455)
Am I the only one that thinks Davis will be good but won't quite live up to the hype?

It's nearly impossible to live up to that hype.... many have failed. I think he'll be good, but not like some have praised him mercilessly. He's going to struggle offensively unless he can increase his lower and upper body strength as he won't be playing with kids anymore. He won't be using those supposed guard skills as often as one would hope.

jeffb 08-07-2012 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carp (Post 676471)
It's nearly impossible to live up to that hype.... many have failed. I think he'll be good, but not like some have praised him mercilessly. He's going to struggle offensively unless he can increase his lower and upper body strength as he won't be playing with kids anymore. He won't be using those supposed guard skills as often as one would hope.


A year ago he wasn't the consensus #1 pick, if I recall correctly it was Drummond that was believed to be the #1 talent.

carp 08-07-2012 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 676475)
A year ago he wasn't the consensus #1 pick, if I recall correctly it was Drummond that was believed to be the #1 talent.

Yeah, and by next year it's not out of the realm of possibilities that Drummond is again considered the better young player..... things can change, that's the nature of hype and potential.

Superjudge 08-07-2012 12:34 PM

I honestly leave nothing closed, I know anyting can happen, but I ask this about Davis....he can guard 4 spots, play three they say. In High School, and on a stacked Ncaa team. Can he guard 4 spots in Europe? He can't even find the floor on Team USA (for good reason obviously), but do we know what he can do against men?

I watched him in College, in the tourney, perhaps he wasnt at his best, but Jones was more of an impact guy than he was. He seemed gauky and a little Bambi-issh, not like a super skilled 4 position guy. So I have a hard time just handing him anything, or saying so distinctly that he's the best of the bunch right now. Hell, that Lamb kid keeps jacking it up like a Zombie he might be Reggie Miller...who knows.

As for JV, well, the guy is good, he has shown he can play with men, and has also shown he can flat out dominate they college level guys. But does that make him a shoe in to be great? He's being limited in London because he's just not good enough in that kind of situation yet, so what can we project.

Can you project?

I'm not sure myself, I prefer to call things as we see them in the present and let the future happen as it may. Right now, at this moment, JV is better in my eyes. That said, my eyes wouldnt bet more than $10 on that though.

bozonic 08-07-2012 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffb (Post 676455)
Am I the only one that thinks Davis will be good but won't quite live up to the hype?

Yes...:deadhorse:


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