.Gifs are fun. Always.
We all got to hear about and see Anthony Davis’ Olympics debut earlier today, and we couldn’t be more proud about seeing this 19 year old former Wildcat put in work on the world’s biggest stage. While this is great, it does make me wonder about the dynamics of an Olympic basketball team full of professional NBA players. SBNation grabbed this .gif of Anthony Davis getting a (probably friendly/mentor-ly) shove from Chris Paul.
As anyone who has ever had to be the ‘new guy’ in any sort of group knows, there is a breaking in process. For the NBA, we often see this ‘rookie initiation’ period briefly begin during summer league action, although this is usually just a small taste for the type of tough love rooks receive from veterans once the real season starts. Most new players don’t get the privilege of competing in the Olympic games on a roster full of established pros. For that reason, Anthony Davis began his official rookie initiation period a bit early. Most Olympic teams are built on the idea of playing for their country first and foremost, but it is inevitable that the NBA culture leaks through into the men’s national team’s chemistry.
As soon as he was drafted and the hype started to grow on Anthony, we saw inklings of vets preparing for AD’s arrival by making sure everyone knew he was just a rookie. We also saw Anthony brush off any backhanded compliments and say that he was prepared and confident to play anyone, anywhere, anytime.
While it is certainly nothing near ‘bad blood’, the rookie-vet dynamic is going to be very unique in Davis’ case. Yes, he is only 19 years old. And yes, he has yet to play his first regular season game as a Hornet. But he has already proven himself by making the Olympic roster and playing on a stage that many vets have never had the chance to do. You can see Anthony pull back in laughter after CP3’s shove — he knows he has what it takes to prove himself to any veteran in the league.
The Hornets have guys like Carl Landry, Hakim Warrick, and maybe even Eric Gordon who could come into the upcoming season with veteran-like attitude towards the rookie Davis — making him carry bags, do laundry, pick up basketballs, etc. It will be interesting to see how playing with major stars in London will effect the rookie initiation period for Anthony Davis, or his reaction to any veteran pranks. And if he continue to prove himself in actual game scenarios, it will be hard for any player in the league to give him a hard time.