As the player development director for the Portland Trail Blazers, Hersey Hawkins has seen many young players emerge as professionals, and Hawkins said Hornets rookie forward Anthony Davis is a step ahead of the majority of the players he has scouted. With Davis' ability to impact games with his defense and his potential to develop offensively, Hawkins said the 19-year-old power forward the Hornets selected with the first pick of this year's draft is destined to become a star in the NBA.

Davis was excused from playing on the Hornets' summer league team after he was invited to play on the U.S. Olympic team.

"I saw him play in college a few times, and he's going to be a franchise-changer," said Hawkins, who played 13 seasons in the NBA as a guard before retiring in 2001. "I think of course, defensively, everybody knows what he does with blocking and changing shots. But this guy has skills in handling the ball pretty well, so he's definitely going to be someone to reckon with for years to come."

Most NBA scouts and general managers agree with Hawkins that Davis has the potential to become an impact player after only one season of college basketball at Kentucky. With the Wildcats, Davis was the national Player of the Year and helped them win the national championship after averaging 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds last season.

"He's definitely got the skill level and talent to be a good, solid NBA player," said Milwaukee Bucks summer league coach Jim Boylan.

Hawkins said Davis' development will be accelerated from playing on the U.S. Olympic team with stars such as LeBron James, Tyson Chandler and Kevin Durant.