In my last two game recaps/thoughts on the game posts, I’ve mentioned Ed Davis’ solid performances and my confusion over his lack of minutes this season.

Over his last six games, Davis has averaged 6.8 points and 8.2 rebounds – numbers that on their own, are far from impressive – but when you consider that he’s averaged just over 20 minutes per game in those six contests, the modest averages of about seven and eight are noteworthy. In fact, Davis is averaging 12 points and 14.5 rebounds per 36 minutes during this stretch, so his lack of floor time remains puzzling.

And it’s not like he’s been limited by foul trouble or is making bad decisions out there either. He’s committed four total fouls in his last 122 minutes of basketball and is only taking five-to-six shots per game over that span, converting on nearly 60 per cent of them. Unless you consider his low foul rate a sign of passive defence (and it very well might be), the only negative to Ed’s game over the last couple of weeks are his nine turnovers in six games, which is hardly unacceptable.

And yet, Davis hasn’t played more than 25 minutes in any of those six games, twice playing less than 20 minutes.

So seriously, what’s the deal?

We know James Johnson was benched for a specific reason (though we don’t know what that reason was), and we can all live with that. I’m fine with Dwane Casey asserting his control over the team and disciplining players when need be or benching players, no matter who, when their effort and overall play isn’t up to his standards. And as you would know from reading RaptorBlog this season, I’m a huge fan of the job Casey has done in Year One in Toronto.

But if there’s one issue I have with Casey’s season, it’s his management of Davis’ minutes. While you can lay some of the blame on a crowded front court leaving little room for Davis, that doesn’t explain why the second year big man still struggles to find consistent floor time with Andrea Bargnani out of the lineup.

Coming into the season, I thought Davis could enjoy a break out campaign for the Raptors. After all, we’re talking about a guy who averaged seven points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes per game as a 21-year-old rookie who had missed what was supposed to be his first training camp and the first month of his rookie season. Not to mention his strong finish last year, when he posted double digit scoring in 11 of his final 21 games and averaged 13 points, nine rebounds and a block over his final eight games.

The peak seemed to be his season opening performance in Cleveland, when Davis put up 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking two shots…in 18 minutes. Perhaps his lack of minutes that December night in Cleveland should have been an indication for us that he wasn’t going to be one of Dwane Casey’s top options.

I haven’t exactly been impressed with Ed Davis’ sophomore season. He’s had an inconsistent effort, has looked downright awful offensively on some nights, and his defence seems to have taken a step back from last season. But when you actually look at the numbers, his production hasn’t really dropped off outside of his offence.

If he’s healthy and gets consistent playing time, Davis is already nearly a walking double-double as a raw 22-year-old. If he can develop even a remotely average offensive repertoire (and God knows he needs one) while maintaining his natural defensive instincts and ability, he can still hit a pretty high ceiling in the NBA, as he’s far from a finished product.

We always hear about how big men take the longest to develop and how patient we’re all going to have to be with Jonas Valanciunas when he comes over next year, and yet it seems that no one thinks Ed Davis is deserving of the same patience.

There’s eight games left in a season that’s supposed to be more about development and a draft pick than anything else. Personally, I want to see what Ed Davis can do with some real playing time against some pretty good competition coming up, and not be forced to spend the summer trying to figure out what to make of his season.

Simply put, we need to see more from Ed Davis, but just as importantly, we need to see more of Ed Davis.

Comments (22)

  1. What are the chances Amir gets amnesty-d this offseason?

    • Why would they amnesty Amir? He’s one of the only Raptor players always committed defensively. That would send a terrible message.

      And even though he is a bit overpaid, Amir is a good guy to have coming off the bench.

      • Just curious. With JV joining the team next year, and assuming Gray is resigned, it will be quite a crowded frontcourt.

        The assumption is they will look for a sf or g with their lottery pick this year, but the draft is looking to be very heavy on bigs at the top of the draft. Depending where they wind up in the lottery, their top-rated prospect may be another big. In that particular situation, I would assume that they would look to move either Amir or Davis. I was just curious whether that might be a possibility.

        • I actually wrote about this earlier this season. I don’t think Amir’s play is Amnesty-worhty, but considering Amir’s slightly over-sized and longer contract, if the Raptors feel they need to use the amnesty clause to free up space for something, I assume he would at least be considered.

          It’s not Amir’s fault that he got a contract a lot of people see as unreasonable, but it does make him vulnerable to amnesty chatter, whether it’s actually an internal consideration or not.

          • I don’t think his play is necessarily amnesty-worthy either, it’s really just in that particular scenario where they wind up with another pf with their lottery pick. The talk earlier was that Davis isn’t in their long-term plans, but if he continues to play like he has been, it may be difficult to justify cutting him loose so soon.

          • The fact that Amir is even in a conversation about being amnestied astounds me. First of all the people that think he’s overpaid either think he’s making more than he is (the initial figure talked about was higher than it really is) or need to take a look around the NBA at what decent big men are making.

            I’ll be the first to admit he’s taken a step back this season, but it’s not nearly as bad as some seem to think.

        • Yes, his contract does at least make him amnesty worthy. I still don’t think they would use it on him though.

          But I’m guessing that they’ll continue to start Bargnani-Johnson at PF/C, and have Davis and JV as the backups next year. Not sure about Gray though, but if the price is low enough I’d think they’ll keep him.

          Solely depending on their draft pick, if it’s a PF or C I would hope that they at least consider the use of the amnesty or at least try to trade Bargnani before it’s used on anyone else.

          • Amir makes $4 million less a season than Bargnani. Without getting into a Bargnani debate, does Bargnani really produce $4 million more than Amir does? I don’t think so.

          • Well, I think they’re both over paid TBH.

            But what are you saying? I was agreeing with you in that Amir shouldn’t be amnestied.

            I was saying they should consider the amnesty for Bargnani instead (if they cant trade him).

          • I’m saying that Amir shouldn’t even be in the conversation. I don’t see his contract being a problem, at all. It’s LESS than the MLE and I’d definitely say he’s better than the average player in the NBA.

            As for Bargnani, I highly doubt that wouldn’t be able to trade him for a decent return.

  2. Agree, I don’t think that Davis has played bad to cause a lack of minutes. Casey just doesn’t seem to trust Davis with more minutes for whatever reason.

    I was actually hoping that he would be the starting PF this year since Reggie Evans (who I would have loved to see back) was gone. Until they said they were moving Bargnani to PF, I thought it was a sure thing.

    But still, if Casey is willing to play Amir Johnson at center, why not get Davis some minutes there? I think he could manage for small parts of the game against smaller guys like Cleveland.

    But definitely would like to see some more of Davis now that Bargnani could be out for the year.

  3. Casey has gotten alot of deserved credit for making a significant changes to this team defensively. But I think he also has a one track mind.

    He plans to replicate the Mavericks. Unfortunately Ed Davis doesn’t fit that bill as he is too small to play C, and doesn’t have enough offense, specifically range, to be a big threat at PF.

    I’m still suprised how few people seem to realize this. He more or less said it when he was signed. Did people not believe him?

    This organization believes Andrea is a Dirk Nowitski and is building as such.

    Its why Ed doesn’t get minutes, its why Andrea doesn’t get benched, atleast for long, when not rebounding or defending (with very rare exceptions), and its why Kleiza picks up additional minutes while Andrea is injured

    • That’s a possibility, and a scary one. Unfortunately if they’re trying to replicate Dallas with a poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki, then the Raptors are going to be a poor man’s Mavericks. And the Mavericks got that way by having one of the largest payrolls in the entire league with Mark Cuban admitting that he doesn’t care if they make a profit.

      I think you can win in the NBA without spending like the Mavericks have, but you can’t follow their model without doing it.

      That’s two very big strikes.

      • I don’t know what scares me more about his whole rebuild plan.

        The fact that Colangelo has blatantly tried to copy other teams (first Phoenix, now Dallas), or the fact that he STILL thinks Bargnani is the next Nowitzki.

  4. I think Ed or Amir are trade bait as soon as the season ends. I’d actually like to keep both around for another season, but with JV coming over, I just don’t know if they want to use the end of the bench spot on another PF or a different position.

    • I think this whole roster is trade bait at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised by any movement this off-season.

  5. When will people realize that Casey isn’t really interested in developing talent and is just trying to make sure that he isn’t abruptly fired like he was in Minnesota? He’s trying to win every game and Davis doesn’t figure into that equation now just like Bayless didn’t earlier in the season.

    Instead of looking at all the factors that players like Davis can control, focus on the one factor they can’t which is the goal of the current coach.

  6. I’m generally a big fan of Casey but I agree he has worried too much this season about trying to win every game at the expense of developing the younger guys. I understand his predicament, but this is a rebuilding year by all accounts.

    I thought Tim Chisholm over at TSN had a good piece on Ed. He was basically drafted into a bad situation and he’s never had the chance that was given to DeMar and Andrea. What I don’t understand is why they don’t try to showcase Ed a bit more if he’s not in the plans for next season. I guess some would argue that playing him more won’t necessarily improve his trade value as other GMs have a good sense of what he is, but I’m not sure about that.

  7. What about the possibility that, given the Raptors’ decent amount of cap space, they trade for another team’s amnesty contract, say a team with two amnesty-worthy players, and use the amnesty on that?

    This assumes, of course, that said other team is giving us something decent for this.

  8. who would you like to see the raptors draft this season?? personally id like to see the raptors draft? Im not a fan of harrison barnes lack of footspeed and in ablility to create his own shot. I think a guy like kendall marshall would be good to replce jose or jeremy lamb to slide in at the 2 spot and move demare to the sf

  9. i could see harrison barnes becoming a marvin williams

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