WESTWEGO, La. – Dell Demps never said outright that the Hornets would take Anthony Davis with the top overall pick in next week’s draft.
In fact, he still mentioned Davis as the “potential” No. 1 pick on Tuesday.
But you just need to listen and read between the lines to figure out that that’s exactly what the Hornets will do.
Davis visited the Hornets on Tuesday, his only time in New Orleans during the pre-draft run-up, and he didn’t even work out. Instead, he met with Hornets brass, including a one-on-one meeting with new franchise owner Tom Benson in his office at the Saints’ Metairie facility.
The point of this visit, in other words, had little to do with basketball.
“Just get to know him, you know, show him around the city,” said Demps, New Orleans’ third-year general manager. “Show him a little bit about us, learn a little bit about him. Tell him who we are and what our plans are and get to know him and I think it’s an important step.”
One other important step already has been taken care of; coach Monty Williams already has begun to form a relationship with the 6-foot-10 combo forward/center.
Prior to Davis signing with an agent, Williams had a chance to speak with the 19-year-old.
Other than a preference for who wins the NBA Finals – Williams wants the Thunder, Davis wants the Heat – they share a common bond over a love for defense.
And that’s something that Davis is psyched about.
“That’s perfect for me,” Davis said. “I love to play defense and (this is) a defensive-minded coach and a whole organization that loves to play defense and works hard and is really defensive oriented, so that would be great on my end.”
Davis earned the 2012 National Player of the Year honor on the back of a well-rounded season, one in which he averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds while blocking 4.7 shots per game.
Yet, that’s not totally what has stood out about Davis to Demps since he first saw him play at a summer camp prior to Davis’ one year in college.
“He has this great big smile on his face and he has this personality that I hope that he can stay enjoying the process, because he’s going to have enough time during the rest of his career when the pressure’s going to come and he’ll have to make big plays in big games and right now I really just want him to enjoy it,” Demps said.
For what it’s worth, Davis feels like Kentucky prepared him for life as a No. 1 draft pick and a potential NBA standout.
“Most definitely,” Davis said. “Even playing at Kentucky, coach (John Calipari) and being the No. 1 team, the pressure came then and we kind of felt it when I was playing there, so I think it kind of helped me a lot.”