NBA executive says Anthony Davis was the best prospect he’d seen since LeBron James

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

When Anthony Davis was entering the 2012 NBA Draft, one NBA executive considered him the best prospect since his current Los Angeles Lakers teammate, LeBron James.

Matt Moore of Action Network looked at the pending NBA arrival of Victor Wembanyama and noted the unnamed executive’s opinion of Davis in 2012, when he was selected by the New Orleans Hornets, who are now known as the New Orleans Pelicans.

“A.D. was the best prospect I’d seen since LeBron, and right away, you could tell the Pelicans felt like they had to put a playoff team around him when Davis wasn’t ready for it,” said the executive.

The executive’s remarks related to the challenges that teams acquiring top talents will have in making their talented newcomers feel comfortable.

That task proved to be an insurmountable challenge for the Pelicans, with Davis requesting to be traded. In 2019, the Lakers ended up acquiring Davis, who then teamed with James to lead the Lakers to the franchise’s first league title in a decade.

Since then, Davis has struggled to stay healthy, with his extended absences resulting in some severe struggles for the Lakers on the court.

James has also dealt with his share of injuries and is an example of an incredibly talented player who left the team that drafted him in search of a title.

In James’ case, he was the top overall pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 NBA Draft, taken (like Davis) with the No. 1 overall pick in his respective draft.

For his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers, James was the driving force in making the team a championship contender. However, after just one trip to the Finals in 2007, James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010.

James eventually won two championships with the Heat before returning to the Cavaliers to lead them to the 2016 title. In 2018, he left the Cavaliers again to join the Lakers.

Wembanyama has long been the favorite to also be the top pick in his respective draft. Right now, the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets have the best chances of getting that top pick.

Wherever Wembanyama ends up, that team will quickly gain a sense of the past pressure felt by the Pelicans and Cavaliers. Whether or not that team can keep the incredibly talented player happy in the years ahead is something that remains to be seen.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.