Ed Davis was drafted by the Toronto Raptors 13th overall in 2010 as a skinny athletic 21-year-old power forward that needed to find a way to make his mark in a man’s game. His skill and energy made him a fan favorite, but he still got shipped off to Memphis in his third season as part of the trade that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto.
Davis was a likable young man during his time in Toronto, but he never gave the impression that he knew his game still needed a lot of work. Getting pushed out of the way in the post was an all too frequent occurrence and he had to work hard for whatever he was going to get. At the time, working hard, especially off the court, wasn’t something that seemed to cross the young Davis’ mind nearly often enough. He needed to mature and the school of hard knocks was about to make an impression.
“I think sitting on the bench for a year and a half in Memphis really matured me,” Davis told Pro Bball Report. “I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been humbled, so I just try and take my experiences and try to help other guys out and use all the negative times I’ve had throughout my career as to not take things for granted.”
After his rookie deal expired and the Grizzlies let him explore free agency, Davis discovered just how humbling the NBA can be as he ended up signing a minimum deal with the woeful Lakers. However, the school of hard knocks seemed to inspire Davis and he had a good year on a bad team. The Trail Blazers noticed and signed him to a three-year $20 million contract last summer.
It isn’t easy to evaluate talent playing in a bad situation, but Davis’ evolution was for real and he’s having the best season of his career coming off the bench for a surprising playoff contender. He’s figured out how he can help a team.
“Just how I can come in and help a team somehow, however that might be,” Davis said. “Come off the bench, bring energy, change the game up. Whatever I can do to help the team get extra possessions, the hustle plays and things like that.”
Davis is older (26) and stronger, but he still isn’t about to push anyone around. He is, however, rebounding at an impressive rate at both ends of the court (18.9 percent of available boards) and he’s taken his shooting up a notch (60.9 percent).
“He keeps getting better and feeling more comfortable with what we are doing at both ends,” Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “He’s a great guy, a great teammate. He has a knack of getting a shot off in the paint. He is a versatile defender and he complements what we are doing. His ability to guard inside guys and outside guys has really helped us.
“He still is not a bulky figure, but he really holds his own against some of the bigger guys in the league. He finds a way to get things done. Sometimes it’s a little unorthodox, but he finds a way to be productive at both ends of the court.”
Davis has enjoyed some big games with Portland. He’s put up eight double-doubles so far this year and perhaps more importantly, 16 double-digit rebounding efforts. Davis has figured out how to help a team and he is part of the reason Portland is in the playoff picture rather than tanking for a draft pick right now.