We’re going to handle preseason player profiles differently this year on RaptorBlog. For each player on the 2012-13 Raptors’ active roster, Joseph Casciaro and I are going to email our thoughts back and forth and then post the resulting conversation on the blog. It’s an edgy new form of journalism! Or something…
Ed Davis, PF, 6’10″, 232 lbs.
2011-12 stats: 66 games, 23.2 MPG, 6.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.0 BPG, 0.6 SPG, 51.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 67.0 FT%, 14.2 PER
Scott: Ed Davis is a difficult player for me to get a handle on. He seems like a decent guy with a nice range of big man skills, but he appears to lack the drive and hunger it takes to build on those skills and become a real force in this league. From his rookie season to his sophomore season in 2011-12, the only area of his game that seemed to show real improvement was his free throw shooting (from .555 to .670). It looks to me that he’s floating through his rookie contract on his natural ability, and that’s not going to earn him any more playing time this season in the Raptors’ suddenly well-stocked frontcourt.
Joseph, I know there was a time when you thought the Raptors should trade (or amnesty!) Amir Johnson and try to develop Davis, but do you still feel that way?
Joseph: It all depends on 2012-13. My whole argument there is that I don’t believe Amir Johnson is much better than Ed Davis, and if you give the much cheaper Davis the bulk of the big man minutes off of the bench, I think he can be molded into a solid NBA big.
But let’s not talk amnesty right now, I’ll probably end up trolling you on that topic later in the season.
Davis definitely had a disappointing sophomore season when you consider how well he finished his rookie season and even how good he looked in the season opener against the Cavs. Maybe it’s a petty excuse, but I do believe that the knee injury he suffered before his rookie campaign, which robbed him of a training camp and the first month of his first season, and then the lockout that robbed him of proper preparations for his second season, affected his development over his first two years.
Maybe it wouldn’t have affected a surefire top-five pick or an offensive guard coming into the league, but it had to negatively effect a young big man coming into the NBA.
As I’ve said before, I think the perceived lack of drive or lack of passion for the game comes from the fact that Davis seems to be very composed for a young player, and doesn’t usually show much emotion on the court. It reminds me of how Blue Jays fans assumed Colby Rasmus didn’t want to be here because he didn’t smile enough.
Scott: Considering that as of this writing, Rasmus has a .228/.292/.419 slash line, that’s not the most flattering comparison you could make for Davis. Aside from that, my opinion about his lack of drive is based on more than just his demeanour. I’d also like to see some kind of commitment to improved strength and conditioning. I haven’t seen any pictures from this off-season to give me any indication of whether or not he’s been hitting the weights, but you might recall that photo he Instagrammed last summer right after he got a new tattoo and he revealed the torso musculature of Weird Harold from the old Fat Albert cartoon. (Yes, I know I’m dating myself. Shut up.)
Until the Raptors’ frontcourt rotation suffers its first injury, it seems unlikely that he’ll rise above third-string power forward and fifth big man on this team. Whether that’s a compliment towards this team’s depth or an indictment of Davis’ lack of development is up for interpretation.
Joseph: Other than the fact that Bargnani will start at the four and that Jonas will eventually start at the five, I don’t think any decisions have been made when it comes to the Raptors’ bigs. Amir and Aaron Gray might get some starts at the five to start the season, but at the power forward spot, I don’t see why we’re assuming Amir is going to be ahead of Ed on the depth chart.
What I do expect is for one of Ed Davis or Amir Johnson to grab that third big man role this season, rendering the other one expendable.
Of course, Davis is probably the more attractive trade asset for other teams, so he might be the odd man out based solely on the fact that he can be packaged with another player for decent return.
Scott: I can think of no better way to sum up the importance of this season for Davis’ future than this tweet and Ed’s response to it in July. Ignoring the classy Twitter handle of the original tweeter, Ed seems well aware of how he’ll be viewed if he doesn’t raise his game in 2012-13:
— Ed Davis (@eddavis32) July 15, 2012