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NBA’s sure thing is Team USA’s “long shot”

Jun 2, 2012, 10:32 PM EDT

Kentucky Basketball News Conference Getty Images

Getting the number one pick in a professional sports draft is great, assuming there’s an obvious pick to be made. It can be terrible if you’re – for the sake of example – the 2007 Portland Trailblazers, or, for that matter, the 1984 Portland Trailblazers.

For the New Orleans Hornets, the No. 1 pick in the NBA is — please pardon the rather on-the-nose phraseology here — a slam dunk. They’ll take Anthony Davis from the Kentucky Wildcats and never look back. Even if Davis somehow ends up being a bust, there’s no sure-fire talent behind him in the rankings that is likely to make them look foolish in any case. They have the virtue of iron-clad certitude.

Davis is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and the Wildcats needed every ounce of his ability to win a national title. So are we getting a little ahead of ourselves if we expect him to be an immediate All-Star selection? Perhaps. Jerry Colangelo, the man tasked with filling out the hoops roster for the impending 2012 Olympics, recently called Davis a “long shot” to make Team USA.

Not that he’s ruling it out completely, mind you. Colangelo is intrigued by Davis’ defensive potential on a team that would love to finish any break started by a big defensive play:

“We don’t have any shortage of scorers,” Colangelo told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Anthony has a chance to make his mark sooner rather than later just by rebounding, defending, getting up and down the court, being a team player. He doesn’t have to score.”

Whether Davis is an Olympian or not, he’s getting a jump start on his NBA career by facing his future peers as a team invitee. Davis is already a consensus number one pick, but he can still benefit from early exposure to the pro post game. The last player to improve his NBA credibility by trying out for the Olympic team was none other than current NBA superstar Kevin Durant.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He thinks Anthony Davis can afford to buy his own plane ticket to London this summer.