Like Derrick Rose in 2008, Anthony Davis should go No. 1
BY NEIL HAYES email@example.com June 7, 2012 8:50PM
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats goes up for a shot against Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Steppig/Pool/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\142351892.jpg
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:20AM
When Anthony Davis watched as Derrick Rose became the first pick in the 2008 NBA draft, he never dreamed he’d be in the same situation four years later. But the consensus national player of the year is the belle of the NBA’s predraft camp this week and is expected to become the second Chicago native taken first overall in the last five drafts.
“I used to watch [Rose] play,” Davis said. “We played on the same AAU team. I was just watching his highlights the other day. He’s a monster. As far as being in the same category, never.”
One of the deepest draft classes in recent years bodes well for the Bulls, who are hoping to land a contributor with the 29th pick. The New Orleans Hornets are expected to take Davis with the first pick.
Rose is likely to miss much of next season while recovering from ACL surgery and C.J. Watson and/or Kyle Korver might not return because of financial reasons, so the Bulls will need to address their backcourt via the draft or free agency.
“We feel good about the team we have,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after watching players work out for scouts Thursday at UIC. “We have some guys that are free agents. We’d like, of course, to have them back, but you never know how that plays out. We have to be prepared for everything and just see how things unfold.”
The Bulls also have been working out rookies at the Berto Center. Syracuse center Fab Melo had to cut short his workout Monday when he became light-headed, which he said was the result of dehydration after a day of travel. Melo said he’ll work out for the Bulls again.
Rose also is rehabbing daily at the Berto Center, Thibodeau said.
“[Rose] doesn’t look back,” Thibodeau said. “He’s looking ahead. He has done a great job of mentally preparing to get through things. He’s making good, steady progress. He just has to be patient and keep doing what he’s doing.”
Also not looking back is 7-1 center Meyers Leonard, who declared for the draft after two seasons at Illinois. Considered a project with a big upside, Leonard is raw. He hopes to use the money he earns in the NBA to help his mother, who has a chronic back problem. His brother recently finished his second tour in Afghanistan.
“I take different intangibles from different players to try to see what I’m doing,” said Leonard, who’s expected to be a first-round pick. “From a standpoint of playing hard and having a real passion for the game, I’m kind of like Joakim Noah [as far as] being a presence in the lane, catching lobs and blocking shots.”
Davis is a more unlikely No. 1 pick than Rose was considering Rose went to powerhouse Simeon and Davis attended Perspectives Charter School, where he was a virtual unknown before his senior season. It has been quite a ride since for the 6-10 forward who led Kentucky to a national title and led the nation in blocked shots last season.
“Chicago has very talented basketball players,” he said. “We all work hard, and we all love the game.”