Anthony Davis is the future of USA Basketball. There. I said it. It does not take a genius to know that Davis is going to be playing in several games for Team USA for the better part of the next decade or so.
Because of the way FIBA works, the former Kentucky star will have plenty of times to play basketball in the summer, even if the New Orleans Hornets do not make the postseason. With the way things went this summer with injuries to Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin, you couldn’t have written a better script.
My only question is: Would Blake Griffin have been the 12th player off the bench or would have been coming in to the game ahead of Kevin Love? The US team did not have much in terms of size this summer. It’s possible that the injuries to both Howard and Griffin played a role in that. There’s no doubt in my mind that a healthy Dwight Howard would have started over Tyson Chandler.
As they said on NBC the other day, if FIBA were to go to an under-23 for the Olympics, it would not be a vote that would go into effect until the 2020 games at the earliest.
During the post-game press conference yesterday, Anthony Davis was asked if he ever dreamed of this happening.
“No,” Davis told reporters. “It’s a great feeling. It feels like the national championship all over. Being on the court with these guys jumping up and down after we won with LeBron and Kobe, KD, Melo, all the players on the team. A great feeling.”
Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant has said that this was his last go around with Team USA. He had some words for the rookie after the game.
“He said it’s not the last one for you and I asked him if he was going to play with me in 2016 and he just started laughing,” Davis said when asked what the Laker star told him.
The Gold Medal game and the National Championship game did have something in common: Anthony Davis had the ball at the last minute.
“It was in my hands in the national championship game, too,” Davis said about getting that last rebound at the end of the game. “I think I just have a thing for having the ball in my hands at the last minute. CPO ran at me quick and wanted the ball – that kind of ruined the moment. I was going to throw it in the air. We still won. I am still happy to be here.”
Many Kentucky fans complained throughout the exhibitions and the Olympics that Davis did not get enough playing time.
“No,” Davis said when asked if it was difficult for him to be watching most of the games from the bench. “It was an opportunity for me. I got better playing with these guys the last couple of months through USAB. I think I learned a lot from watching these guys from how they play, how they take the game, how they approach the game.”
Over the next few years, the FIBA Americas Championship will take place in 2013 and the FIBA World Championship will be in 2014. Anthony Davis’ role on those squads will be determined as we get closer to the dates.