UK Men's Basketball

Anthony Davis relaxed, ready to start rookie season

New Orleans Hornets forward Darius Miller, top, leans on forward Anthony Davis during portraits at their NBA basketball media day at their practice facility in Westwego, La., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
New Orleans Hornets forward Darius Miller, top, leans on forward Anthony Davis during portraits at their NBA basketball media day at their practice facility in Westwego, La., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.

Anthony Davis joked with camera operators and teammates, leaving little doubt that he was as relaxed and ready to enjoy his NBA debut as he claimed to be.

Of course, he'll have more fun if the New Orleans Hornets win, and that may hinge as much on the health of Eric Gordon's surgically repaired right knee as anything else.

While Davis' presence infused the Hornets' annual media day with optimism, uncertainty about Gordon's health brought with it an undercurrent of anxiety on the eve of training camp.

Gordon, retained by the Hornets at the cost of a four-year, $58 million contract, will be limited during training camp because of recurring pain in his knee during voluntary off-season workouts.

Davis said recording promotional videos Monday while wearing his No. 23 jersey drove home that his NBA dream is really beginning now, and he added that he is going to enjoy the hype that comes with being a top draft pick and work hard to make the Hornets winners again.

"You can't stress out about it. You've got to have fun with it, and if you do it makes the transition a lot smoother," the former University of Kentucky star said. "I just have to be confident in myself and my game and confident in my teammates and coaching staff, knowing they're going to help me."

Davis said he "most definitely" would embrace a leadership role as soon as the coaches think he's ready.

"It's a tough challenge and tough role but I think I can fill that role," Davis said. "We've got other guys who can take on that role as well, but if coach comes to me and says, 'I need you to be a leader on this team,' I won't shy away from it."

Wizards: John Wall, tabbed to miss the first month of the regular season with a left knee injury, hopes he'll return sooner than expected.

"Luckily, I'm young," said Wall, who was diagnosed with the early stages of a stress injury to his left knee cap. "Hopefully, it'll heal quicker than what it takes older people."

Wall averaged 16.3 points, 8.0 assists and 4.5 rebounds last season. He said he can't do any basketball activity besides standstill dribbling as he enters his third season out of Kentucky.

"It's tough," Wall said. "I just try to keep positive people around me, try to stay positive, don't think negative."

For now, Wall's routine is to "play video games, sleep, play video games." He said he'll be patient with his return.

"I'm just glad they found it before it got real bad," Wall said. "It could have got real bad. I could have probably tore it or missed the whole season."

Wall also responded to criticism that he partied too much during the off-season.

"The summertime, I'm going to enjoy myself," Wall said. "But, at the same time, as long as I'm up every morning at 6 a.m. and going to the gym at 7, it doesn't matter to me. Throughout the season, if I was doing it, it would be a lot different."

Jazz: The new-look Utah Jazz can only hope their transformation this year is as dramatic as that of once soft-spoken big man Enes Kanter, who wasn't afraid to show off his slimmed-down, muscled-up physique in a series of daring Twitter posts this off-season.

"He needs his own reality show," teammate Earl Watson quipped Monday as the team showed off its new roster.

The 6-foot-11 Kanter, aka Big Turkey, was ready to show off his six-pack of abs, and even had his jersey untucked before team officials urged a little restraint.

"I am not afraid of anybody and also we are not afraid of anybody," said Kanter, once afraid to utter more than a few words of English. "We have a really good and talented team and we are going to go out there and compete every night."

Kanter finished last season at 270 pounds, then ballooned to 293 after spending time in his native Turkey.

In the last two months, he has dropped 51 pounds to a chiseled 242.

The six-egg-omelet breakfasts, pasta-and-burger lunches, and heavy dinners with dessert have been replaced by an all-salad-and-seafood diet.

Big Turkey may need a new nickname.

"He's a lot more mobile and he can get up and down the court a lot better," teammate Paul Millsap said. "We'll see how that translates to the game, but hopefully it will."

Kings: DeMarcus Cousins said at media day that a lot has changed since Sacramento finished last season.

"We have a different mindset, a more winning mindset," Cousins said. "Just our confidence, I believe that is there as well. I felt like, I can't really speak for everybody else, but we'd come in with the 'what if' or 'you-don't-really-know' mindset. But definitely a winning mindset this year."

Glancing around during media day, the team's playful antics were limited, quite a difference from recent years with such a young team that has often been labeled "immature." Asked if he'd perform more or make the funny faces, Cousins politely declined.

"Not this year," he said.