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Former Raptors Forward Ed Davis Grounded in Memphis

Ed Davis is in wait and learn mode with the Grizzlies as the bouncy popular former Raptors forward has been grounded in Memphis. Davis has only played in 4 of the Grizzlies last dozen games and only scored more than 2 points twice since the end of January as his minutes and opportunities to play have been cut way back since Marc Gasol returned to the lineup in mid-January.

The Grizzlies are led by the power combination of Gasol and Zach Randolph and with Kosta Koufos soaking up most of the backup minutes at center, there just aren’t many opportunities for this team’s forwards to see a lot of time. Head Coach David Joerger has James Johnson, Jon Leuer and can even go small if he wants and lately, Davis has been the odd man out more often than not. However that doesn’t mean Davis isn’t contributing in other ways.

“Even though I am not playing right now,” Davis said. “If I see something on the court, I’ll tell (Randolph) or Marc – the double team is coming from the baseline or the double team is coming from wherever. I have a great basketball mind myself, so we help each other. I can see a lot of things that they are not seeing because they are out there on the court so I try to help them as much as I can as they help me.”

Even while he was in Toronto, Davis never lacked confidence. An NCAA Champion with the Tar Heels in 2009, Davis was taken 13th overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2010 NBA draft. As top 10 rated draft prospect, the expectations for Davis as a rookie were high.

“When you are a rookie, you are just trying to feel your way,” Dais explained. “Just learn and just soak everything in and obviously with more experience you get more confident in yourself and your game and become more talkative.”

Toronto wasn’t a very good team in his 2.5 seasons with the Raptors and Davis didn’t have the All-Star big men to learn from that he has in Memphis. However, his play improved and he was one of the key players sent by Toronto to the Grizzlies in return for Rudy Gay. Davis has averaged better than a double-double per 36 minutes every season and Gasol and Randolph should be able to teach him some new tricks on the court and in the practice gym.

“You just learn all the little tricks and stuff that they have watching them practice and going against them every day,” Davis said. “There are things they can teach you and I ask a lot of questions. I’ll ask Marc why he did this move and learn like that. Marc is a lead by example and a vocal guy, so if something is on his mind, he is going to say it.

“It’s just putting in work before and after practice and having conversations and picking guys’ brains, learning from the veterans, learning from the coaches and learning from all the great basketball minds that are around you.”

The young forward understands his situation. The Grizzlies are in a fight for their playoff lives and Joerger is going to play Gasol and Randolph as many minutes as necessary to win a spot in the postseason. Davis will be grounded until his team needs him or Joerger feels comfortable resting his stars because a game is getting out of hand. He’ll just have to soak up as much as he can from off the court for now.


Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.


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