New Orleans GM Dell Demps Does His Best To Temper Early Expectations of Anthony Davis

June 28, 2012 – 8:15 am by Eric Schmoldt

Everybody knows Anthony Davis is going to be selected No. 1 by the New Orleans Hornets in tonight’s NBA Draft. He’s clearly the cream of the crop in what most consider a strong draft class in general. That means he’s about to be hit — if he hasn’t already — with massive expectations.

New Orleans GM Dell Demps hasn’t even selected Davis yet, but he’s already trying to quell the expectations of the 19-year-old phenom. Demps played the “guys coming into the NBA are much younger these days” card and says folks need to expect Davis to experience a bit of a learning curve.

Dell Demps joined WWL in New Orleans with Deke Bellavia to discuss how fun it is to have the No. 1 overall pick, if there’s any way he’d trade it, what he sees in Anthony Davis’ game, how he’ll fit into a defensive-minded team, what he is thinking about the No. 10 overall pick and where the franchise stands in his master plan.

How fun is it to have the No. 1 overall pick?:

“All year we went and watched a lot of games and honestly Kentucky had a lot of good players on their team. So you go to watch them play and they probably had six guys that were going to get drafted. But I always kept telling myself, ‘You’re not going to get 1, you’re not going to get 1, don’t expect this.’ … So the whole time we prepared, the worst picks we could’ve had were 7 or 13, so we always prepared like we were going to get 7 and 13. But we’re feeling good right now. We think the future’s bright.”

Is there anything out there in the NBA that could be offered to you in order to trade the No. 1 pick?:

“Well, you know, when you look back on the history of the league, some of the greats have been traded. So I always say you have to listen. … But I think there’s probably a real small amount of assets that we would accept for the No. 1 pick.”

What do you see in Anthony Davis?:

“What I really want to do right now is I really try to stay away from analyzing players before the draft. Obviously he’s a talent; he’s going to really impact the league. But I think the thing we’ve got to make sure is the expectation level is managed properly. He’s 19 years old. Kids come into the NBA 19 years old. It’s a little different than it was 10 or 15 years ago. … That development and learning curve takes a few years.”

Could there have been a better fit considering what you guys have done defensively with this team?:

“I think Coach [Monty] Williams has done a great job of setting the tone of how the Hornets want to play, especially defensively. We feel like we’re at a good spot. We feel like our team culture and identity have been established and now we want to build on that in this draft.”

Give us your logic on what you’re thinking with the No. 10 pick:

“Well I think if there’s a clear difference in talent level, I think you take that clear difference in talent level. If you judge a guy to be better than everyone else, I think you take him and then you figure it out or make a trade or you try to make it happen. I think it’s just really, really hard to get players in the NBA. … Now, if the talent level is the same, then I think you go for fit.”

Where would you say the franchise is right now in your master plan?:

“I think we’re definitely in the rebuilding stage. I think that it’s going to be fun for Hornets fans to watch us grow. I thought this season would be an opportunity to have a lot of young guys on the court and I think that was pretty much Stage One. I think we’re going to jump to Stage Two this year where the guys from last year should’ve taken a jump. … We’ll gradually get to a point where we’re going to compete and compete at the highest level.”

Listen to Dell Demps on WWL in New Orleans here

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