As Anthony Davis’ Kentucky Wildcat career came to it’s (likely) end at Monday night's National Championship Game, the media’s attention immediately turned to his pro career. He’s earned comparisons to Tim Duncan and Bill Russell, who fell into great situations after getting drafted.
However, instead of cutting down nets, it’s possible could be playing for them very soon. The New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets are one of the franchises in contention for the No. 1 overall pick and drafting Davis would be beneficial for Williams and the Nets. Not only are they one of the better franchises in the lottery but they're moving into a brand new arena in Brooklyn next season.
As unlikely as it seems, winning the NBA’s Draft Lottery is their only hope of convincing Deron Williams to sign a multi-year extension. However, bettering their odds may mean tanking their season and resting Deron Williams. The Nets currently have the NBA’s fifth best record, however, the team with the NBA’s fifth or sixth best record has won the lottery 10 times. The team with the worst record has only won the lottery seven times in 26 years. Last week when asked whether he’d like to have Anthony Davis as a teammate, Williams was upbeat about the possibility.
"I guess so, yeah. I’m sure I could. If we get the No. 1 pick." said Williams.
Talking about Anthony Davis was the first time that Williams has even entertained the idea of returning to the Nets next season since the Dwight Howard Ponzi scheme yielded disappointing returns. (Ahem! Gerald Wallace!!!) The Nets won’t have the best odds, however, they will have home court advantage as the lottery will be held within the bowels of Newark's Prudential Center.
The draft lottery will mark the second time that the Nets will be counting on a Kentucky freshman to change their franchise’s fortunes. After one of the worst NBA seasons ever, the Nets began the 2010 Draft Lottery with the best odds of earning the No. 1 overall pick and drafting John Wall.
Before the lottery, Prokhorov promised a championship within five years. His co-owner Jay-Z was connected to NBA power broker William Wesley and John Calipari was a candidate to coach the Nets for the second time. Jay-Z was supposed to make the Nets as cool as Tebow is supposed to make the Jets.
Unfortunately, the plan failed. Every game that Williams misses due to illness or injury helps their chances. Recently, ESPN's Truehoop writers unanimously agreed that they would rather have Davis than Blake Griffin. Chris Paul's addition to the Clippers catapulted the Clippers from a lottery team into the Western Conference's elite. Unfortunately, their lackluster defense and subpar coaching situation has kept them from challenging Oklahoma City and San Antonio atop the Western Conference standings. Anthony Davis will be one of the NBA's best defensive players once he fills out and adjusts to the game while Avery Johnson is a upper-tier NBA coach.
The pieces are in place but it needs Anthony Davis. Amazingly enough, Davis is still adjusting to his size after beginning his junior year in high school as the 6-3 guard on a sub-.500 high school team. In a few months, Davis could pair with Brook Lopez to form a formidable front court and it means the Nets could still pursue Howard next season.
However, all of this is hypothetical. The Nets need a Patrick Ewing in 1985-type miracle. Anthony Davis may be just the ticket. Now they need the lottery balls to roll in their favor.