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By Daniel Caccamo & Nathaniel Dedman

 

Part 2 of the My Franchise series is here in which blog writers Nathaniel Dedman and Daniel Caccamo construct a championship caliber team, position by position. In the first installment of this series Daniel, with pick 2, selected former Kentucky big man and current Kings inside anchor DeMarcus Cousins as his franchise big man. While Nathaniel took Detroit excitement machine Andre Drummond with the first overall selection. In round two of the franchise draft, Daniel will hold the first selection while Nathaniel will have the second pick.

 

The Selection

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Daniel – The power forward to pair with DeMarcus Cousins for My Franchise is none other than Anthony Davis. The 6’10 big man from Chicago has had a superb season for the New Orleans Pelicans and is not only one of the better power forwards but one of the better players in the NBA. Along with DeMarcus Cousins, Davis will provide the right amount of offense but will also be the defensive anchor every team needs down low.

 

Nathaniel – Sometimes it really sucks having pick number 2! Davis really is a no brainer but with the big fella off the draft board my selection needs to go elsewhere. Plenty of quality names like Aldridge, Duncan, Ibaka, Griffin and more are available but provide no match to Kevin Love.

The former UCLA big man is the ideal running mate at the 4 with Drummond. Love is able to spread the floor with his impressive three ball while also being strong enough to continue the domination on the boards. Kevin also has a severe drive to win – the ideal ingredient for a championship!

 

The Power Forward position.

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The next generation of great NBA power forwards have been taking over the game for some time. Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett will go down as some of the greatest players to ever play the game, there is no denying that – but this season they have taken the back stage as the NBA ushers in the next generation of great power forwards. Along with Anthony Davis the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love are amongst the top power forwards in the league – all players who are cornerstones of their respective franchise and are currently taking the league by storm (not so much K-Love who missed the playoffs again). With the young and developing PF talent in the NBA at the moment, combined with the veteran talent still strutting their stuff, it is clear to see that the PF position is as strong as it has been for a long time.

 

 

Why Anthony Davis?

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Daniel – With DeMarcus Cousins being the man in the middle, I wanted a PF with enough offensive versatility to play alongside my big man. Davis is the perfect combination of an inside-outside offensive game that means he wouldn’t clog the lane and restrict the ability of Cousins dominating down low. Davis can stretch the floor and whilst he doesn’t have 3-point range, he can hit the midrange jump shot consistently meaning he will fit alongside Cousins perfectly on the offensive side of the ball. But Davis wouldn’t just be a jump shooter in My Franchise. With his out-of-this-world athleticism and a solid post game, he will receive his fair share of the ball on the inside and around the hoop. Davis and Cousins are similar on the offensive side of the ball in the way they would prefer to score on the inside, but the reason this duo will work is because they go about it differently. Cousins has a more traditional back-to-the-basket game whilst Davis can rely on his athleticism. Expect a very dominant offensive PF-C combo.

Now on the defensive side of the ball is where this partnership will really flourish. Cousins hasn’t been a defensive monster since coming into the league, but that is more due to the fact that he has been playing on a really bad team. This year, although the Kings finished with a horrible 28-54 record, Cousins began to live up to his defensive potential. Using his big frame, agility and length, Cousins began to give the Kings some kind of defensive identity. Combine this with Davis, who is already one of the best defensive players in the league, will give My Franchise two defensive anchors on the inside, making My Franchise virtually impossible to penetrate and score against. Davis, as mentioned before is super-athletic and he uses that athleticism along with his tremendous defensive instincts to become one of the best rim protectors in the league. Whilst he doesn’t have the size (only 220 lbs.), he hustles hard and holds his own against much bigger opponents – and usually beats them. Another reason why Davis is a good fit alongside Cousins, is his ability to be able to defend on the perimeter if need be. Davis has superb agility and extremely quick feet, meaning he is capable of switching out on guards, small forwards or stretch fours and lock them down. Davis is a defensive juggernaut and can defend a variety of positions extremely well – he is far from having reached his defensive potential, which is a scary proposition for the rest of the NBA.

Davis came into the league with everyone focusing on how good his defensive game could be (is), with his offensive game receiving little or no attention and that time. Davis has developed so much in the time he has been in the NBA (2 years) and the improvement he made from his rookie season to his sophomore season is exactly what everyone wanted to see from him on both sides of the floor.

Davis dominated this season with 20.8 PPG (14th NBA/4th PF), 10.0 RBG (10th NBA/4th PF), 1.33 SPG (31st NBA/3rd PF), 2.82 BPG (1st in NBA/PF) and when you take a consider this year it is easy to forget he is ONLY 21 years old!

Stat of the Year – No PF was more efficient than Anthony Davis from the field and FT line this season – 51.9 FG % and 79.1 FT %.

 

Why Kevin Love?

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Nathaniel – Klove is a night in and out double double machine, which is exactly what I need. Holding the first pick in the high scoring Small Forward draft allows me to generate excitement there while looking for more consistency down low. While Love may be no Davis player in terms of shot blocking, Andre Drummond compensates and lets Minnesota’s franchise man do his thing.

Love has enough body weight to go head to head with any big man in the NBA while also being blessed with a long range shot rarely seen that consistent in big men. His ability to shoot the three and force opposition forwards outside the paint on D is a real win for my team and gives us an edge that many teams don’t have.

Kevin is one of those players that won’t really be fully appreciated until he moves to a big name franchise. While I’m not the biggest fan of the Lakers franchise, I do hope Kevin is able to land there. A player putting up double double nights with regularity in the purple and gold would become global and much more appreciated than an enormously talented player tucked away in the ever underachieving men’s basketball city of Minnesota.

Via hoopsstats.com Kevin Love was a, if not THE,  premium PF in position specific stats this season with rakings 1st in Assists, Rebounds, Defensive Boards, Free Throws made and efficiency recap. And if that wasn’t enough Love was 2nd in three pointers made and points giving him a monster year.

Consistency is what Love brings to my franchise. The sort of consistency that many players lack, and the sort of consistency that wins you basketball games.

 

The Player.

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Daniel – Anthony Davis is a STAR, a talent that can be mentioned in the same sentence as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard. Davis took the next step this year and proved to the league that he deserves to be named alongside those players. At only 21 years old he seems to have the right mentality to come in and succeed for a long, long time in the NBA – this was evident through the tremendous leap he made from his rookie to his sophomore campaigns.

Season GP GS FG % FT % SPG BPG APG RPG PPG
12-13 64 60 51.6 % 75.1% 1.2 1.8 1.0 8.2 13.5
13-14 67 66 51.9% 79.1% 1.3 2.8 1.6 10.0 20.8

 

Davis set career highs across the board this season, which is a testament to his hard work, determination and positive attitude. After a frustrating injury-riddled rookie campaign, Davis put in the time and effort during the offseason and was able to reap the rewards this season.

Coming into the NBA, Davis was compared to greats such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and whilst one season isn’t enough to say these comparisons are spot on, it is clear to see that he is on the road to becoming one of the most dominant power forwards of this generation.

 

Nathaniel – Kevin Love is a franchise building block and the sort of player that rival teams salivate on. His only issue has been the knack to succumb to injury.

All that aside you cant go past Love still on the board. This season Love was forced to play as a 5 for 15 games and managed better numbers in various areas, just highlighting his versatility and importance to a team. Some players thrive against lottery bound teams, or, sides in the much weaker Eastern Conference. Love however maintained his solid night in and out numbers against every opponent, be them playoff or cellar bound.

Love’s statistics have always remained solid for the last two seasons (I don’t count the 12-13 campaign as Love only played 18 games). To me, that’s pretty suprising given the ever growing game of Nikola Pekovic and the gradual improvement of players like Rubio and the addition of Kevin Martin. I, personally, had assumed that his rebounds and points would drop a touch with more options on the roster. But that was only ever so slightly the case, Kevin Love – reliable as always!

Season GP GS FG % FT % SPG BPG APG RPG PPG
11-12 55 55 44.8 % 82.4% 0.9 0.5 2.0 13.3 26.0
13-14 77 77 45.7% 82.1% 0.8 0.5 4.4 12.5 26.1

 

 

The Future.

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Daniel – The New Orleans Pelicans are the lucky franchise to have a player of Davis’ caliber competing night in and night out for them and alongside Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers, the Pelicans have one of the most intriguing core group of players in the NBA. This season due to injury and a lack of depth the Pelicans failed to make the impact Coach Monty Williams would have wanted them to. Losing both Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday for the majority of the year really put the Pelicans on the back foot and they couldn’t overcome that massive hurdle. Come next year though, with a roster at 100% and several All-Star quality players with the team, the Pelicans should make a push for a playoff seed out in the tough Western Conference.

Davis is still on his rookie contract and with their core players locked into long-term deals, the Pelicans have little room to bring in any more star talent. In saying that a core of Davis, Holiday, Gordon and Evans is something that should make Pelican fans very excited.  This core group has the potential to lead their team back into playoff, even championship contention.

As mentioned earlier in the article, Davis is still only 21 years of age, which means he is far from a finished product as a player. With so much room to learn and grow in terms of his defensive and offensive game, it is a scary proposition to consider how good AD can become.

 

Nathaniel – Kevin Love won’t be in a Timberwolves uniform much longer. There, I said it. The big man is heavily sought after with the Bulls reportedly looking to trade for Love while the Knicks and Lakers are expected to make a play, presumably when he hits Free Agency.

You would expect that when Love hits the FA that he would pursue, and most likely receive a max offer. However the question must be asked, has Kevin Love hit his peak? If he has then that’s cool, you still get a franchise player capable of making your side competitive no matter what the supporting cast. Persoanally I just cant see how Love can add much more to his game other than a flashy new post move or an improved shooting percentage. He isn’t blessed with Davis or Griffin like athleticism, which limits what else he can add to his repertoire.

Love doesn’t turn 26 until September which means there’s plenty of service left for a franchise. The good thing about Love not being overly athletic is that his game should become like that of Tim Duncan – ageless! Kevin Love will no doubt be a factor for whatever franchise he plays for years beyond 30.

 

In closing.

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Daniel – Drafting a player with this much potential and such a high skill level is a real no brainer. With the PF position as deep as it is at the moment, I could have selected a variety of players (Serge Ibaka, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love etc) but Anthony Davis has the highest ceiling and is arguably already the best PF in the league. Davis is set to dominate the NBA for years to come and that made drafting him an even easier decision.

Combined with Cousins, AD gives My Franchise two of the most offensively and defensively gifted big men in the NBA. As I mentioned in my previous My Franchise piece, jump shots don’t always fall, so having a big man who can score at will around the basket is very important, the only thing better than one big man that can do that is two. That combined with their innate ability to grab rebounds on both ends of the floor and their dominant defensive games give My Franchise two of the best building blocks. AD and DMC in one team – what a scary thought that is.

My Franchise so far

C – DeMarcus Cousins

PF – Anthony Davis

 

Nathaniel – Taking Kevin Love at pick two was a pretty simple selection. With the wonderous sights of Tim Duncan still being a force at his age, any chance to select someone with an ageless game is too good to pass up. Andre Drummond brings the athletisism, but Love brings the consistency.

Taking a look at Daniel’s side he certainly picked the right time to go number one. Almost every position, perhaps bar 2 guard, has at least two premier options. Whereas the Power Forward position has Anthony Davis miles ahead on talent and potential while the rest great but not as mouthwatering. But hey, Kevin Love as a consolation is still pretty darn good!

My Franchise so Far

C – Andre Drummond

PF – Kevin Love

 

Did we make the right choice? Let us know who you would’ve chosen on twitter @danielcaccamo22 & @ndedman94 or in the comment section below.

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