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Scott Howard-Cooper

Anthony Davis is a known defensive stopper, but he has shown that he is capable on offense as well.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

There's more to Davis' skill set than defense

Posted Jun 28 2012 10:20AM

NEW YORK -- Late in a season when he had already proven to be the best college player on what was about to be proven as the best team, when he turned the debate on the No. 1 pick in the Draft into a two-word conversation, Anthony Davis started to hit 3-pointers.

Great. Now he could do that, too.

He could before, actually, as the select few at the University of Kentucky practices could attest. But now the 6-foot-10 power forward was draining 3s in games, in postseason games at that, and the entire world was let in on the secret.

Davis has an offensive attack. Hooks. Jumpers, with range. Some dribbling.

Few noticed because his defense was so dominating that it overshadowed everything else and few realized because he was a freshman on a team with accomplished shooters. But he was good enough to average 14.2 points in 32 minutes while shooting 62.3 percent. He was clutch enough to shoot 7-for-8 and score a team-high 18 points in the national semifinal against rival Louisville before finishing on the down offensive note of missing 9 of 10 attempts against Kansas two nights later as Kentucky won the title.

"It's just hard to show with so many guys around you," said one teammate, Terrence Jones. "But I think he's definitely a good scorer."

"He can score at will when he wants to," said another, Doron Lamb.

The Hornets are not getting a one-dimensional player when Davis officially joins the NBA tonight as the No. 1 pick in the Draft, a coronation that has been set for months and needed only the May 30 lottery to set his destination.

"It's up to them (teams) to decide, but I know I work hard at it," Davis said. "I try to stay in the gym, putting up jumpers. Shooting 3s. One dribble pull-ups. Turn-around jumpers. Jump hooks. Whatever I can do to make my team better. Wherever I go, I just want to be a great basketball player. I know it takes a lot of hard work."

How good can you be on offense?

"I think I can be very good if I just keep working hard," Davis said. "I just can't take anything for granted."

Sixteen points a game? Eighteen?

"I'm not sure," he said. "I think my first year, I'll be getting accustomed to the game, trying to figure everything out. I believe in myself that I can."

Davis is the reigning national Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four, but the reputation is based mostly on his work on defense, particularly as a shot blocker, and rebounding. That is why he is a projected NBA superstar beginning tonight. But there is a credible offense to his game. There is a shot with range. Now he can do that too.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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