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Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

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  • Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

    As Memorial Day weekend continues on, tonight we take a look at the long and lean big man from North Carolina, Ed Davis. In the first three editions of this series, we have looked at Greg Monroe, Patrick Patterson, and Avery can find their profiles in the archives of this site.

    Davis is the son of an NBA player, a journeyman named Terry Davis. Terry Davis played on a few different teams but had his best seasons in Dallas. His son Ed therefore at least has some knowledge of what pro basketball will be like, in terms of the demands and lifestyle that comes with being in the league, so at least that part of it is unlikely to be overwhelming.

    Ed Davis played 2 seasons in Chapel Hill as a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels and head coach Roy Williams. In his first season, UNC won the National championship, and Davis played a key but limited role on that team as an energy guy off the bench, mainly backing up our own Tyler Hansbrough. This year, after the Tar Heels lost Ty Lawson and Hansbrough, Davis was thrust in a more prominent role, with mixed results.

    The decision now made to take his game to the pro level, let's put the game of the athletic power forward under the microscope:


    Let's start with an examination of Ed Davis, purely from a physical standpoint, and hit both the negatives and positives as I see them.

    Davis measured 6'9 without shoes (a meaningless stat to me, ever see a player playing barefoot?) and almost 6'10 with shoes, so we will call him 6'10 from now on. He also weighed in at 227llbs, which is more than I expected from watching him play on tape, as I was expecting him to come in around 215lbs just looking at him. So, you have to be happy with the added weight, and he will need to continue to add more weight as he develops into his body.

    He had a 7'0 wingspan, which is ok but not as long as I thought it would be relative to watching him play. That is about average, nothing to be alarmed about, but nothing to be thrilled with either. Overall, you could say that all of his workout numbers ended up being fine, but nothing to write home about or notice either.

    Davis does meet the average size requirements at his age to be a legitimate NBA 4 man, though like I said he will need to spend a huge amount of time getting stronger in the weight room, and whoever selects him needs to make sure he gets a nutritionist and a personal trainer to help build up his body mass and improve his athleticism as much as possible.

    Right now he isn't strong enough to help a team very much, and he isn't an explosive enough athlete to make up for not being strong. His body is a project at this level right this second. But he does seem to have the capacity to improve all those things, and he is still a young man growing into his physique at a fairly normal pace. I'm not overly concerned about his lack of weight at this point, though you do have to factor it in as you evaluate him.


    From a athletic standpoint, Davis isn't a man among boys in any way, and he also lacks fluidity when you see him move. The word "mechanical" comes to mind watching him play. I believe that is where the comparison's you see sometimes to Dale Davis come into play, as Dale was a stiff and mechanical type of runner and made moves with the ball that way too.

    So, I can see the similarity in theory, but the reality isn't going to be that way. Dale was an enforcer, and intimidated people with his brute strength and force and will.

    Ed Davis is stiff and mechanical in movements, but he doesn't scare anybody from a physical standpoint and he likely never will. Plus, Dale Davis was way above average in strength and power, where Ed Davis is below average in those categories right now.

    That doesn't make him a bad player, but we need to be realistic here. Ed Davis is no Dale Davis, no matter what you may read. Same last name, but different types of attitudes and games.

    Theoretically, as we've mentioned several times, the Pacers long term need a big man who can play C alongside Hansbrough and PF alongside Hibbert. Can Davis do that? I think 2 to 3 years from now he can, but right now he lacks the physical capacity strength wise to do so. Davis is a longer term project than others in this draft are. He right now he has the size of a 4 man, but the game of a 5 man....he is a tweener. I doubt his game changes too much, so how much his body catches up to him will be the key.


    There is alot to like about Ed Davis though, don't get me wrong. Let's analyze the strengths and weaknesses of his offensive game first.

    Offensively, like most Carolina big men, Davis will run the floor. As the "rim runner" in the UNC controlled transition game, Davis ran hard all of the time and often beat his man down the floor. Not as much as Hansbrough did, but Davis still possesses the straight line speed and high motor to get that done.

    Where he struggled a bit in this regard was to stop and hold his ground. Lacking lower body strength to establish position, often you'd see a trailing defender just move Davis right under the rim, taking away angles he could be fed by Carolina's wings. Davis would fight back alot of the time to reestablish himself, but by then it was too late, as UNC had moved the ball away from him.

    With his back to the basket, the same problems occur. Unless he is fed the ball exactly on time, Davis can get moved off the block easily, as he lacks both the footwork and the strength to keep himself on the box. Instead he gets moved out a bit much of the time, and he lacks the face up game to make teams pay for that. The counter to that is to just make a "Sikma" pivot, rise up and shoot or take people off the dribble, but Davis lacks both those moves at this time from what I can see.

    I think he can develop them in time, but he can't do them yet.

    His lack of power also is apparent when he is bumped at all. Davis goes up weak, and almost any contact knocks him off balance and forces him to miss. Most of the time even at this level he can score over people, but with average height and athleticism he won't be scoring over anyone who can defend at all right now at the NBA level.

    I expect that Davis will end up being a more finesse oriented player offensively than he was used at UNC. In limited attempts he did show good footwork when setting ball screens, and it is easy to see him setting high ball screens and rolling to the basket for lob passes at the NBA level. Though he hasn't shown it yet very much, I can easily in my mind's eye see Davis developing into a decent catch and shoot guy, making him an asset eventually in a "pick/pop" situation, or a drive and dump type baseline jump shooter.

    As a passer, you don't see much. Davis isn't creative, and isn't going to wow anybody that way. He does seem to throw the ball to the correct place most of the time, and he is careful and conservative. You don't see alot of forcing things or carelessness with the ball.

    Long term, I don't think he is a guy who you need to double team with the ball on the block, and in fact he won't be much of a scoring threat at all. He will run the floor though, and I think he will morph into a guy who can make a wide open jump shot after a year or 2. But in no way is he a primary scoring option, that just isn't him.


    As a defender/rebounder is where Ed Davis will hang his hat someday in the league, if he is to make it at all.

    Defensively I see a mixed bag. As a help guy, you have to like Davis. He is aware of his surroundings seemingly, and he is an unselfish defensive player, willing to help his teammates and leave his own man...sometimes too easily in fact.

    Davis can come off the ball in help and block shots, as he has really good timing and seems to hit the ball when he tries to block a don't see a lot of wild swings and misses with Davis. He does have the usual big man's tendency to go for shot fakes though, but that is a typical failing in young bigs that will solve itself over time I think.

    I love that Davis is left handed and blocks shots that way. Most players will shoot right handed, and their defenders will try and block shots with their right hand as well....going back to last night's game with the Lakers and Suns, you see Grant Hill contesting Kobe Bryant's shots with his RIGHT hand instead of his left hand. Despite what the media may say about that being great defense by Hill on some of Kobe's jump shots, those shots were easier than you think because Bryant actually had an unobstructed look at the rim....Hill's "contest" hand was to the side of Kobe's head, out of the way of the target.

    Anyway, blocking shots with either hand is a major skill in a post defender. Davis doesn't show much right handed, but if he just stays with his left handed blocking style that will still serve him well.

    Unfortunately, Davis doesn't have any strength in his lower body, and he gets posted up quite often by even decent big guys near his size. Davis will need to learn to play defense from the waist down, and will need to learn that defense starts BEFORE your man gets the ball, not after. Right now, teams can just back him down and score on him, so Davis is a guy you have to help in the post.

    Because he is a very good shot blocker, some will likely somewhat over rate his defensive skill, as that is a glamorous statistic. As a help side guy he will be very good, but he doesn't project to be a stopper on post guys at all, in fact smart coaches who get good matchups will go right at Davis. His inability/unwillingness to play defense before his man catches inside, and his lack of strength to fight for position are major problems on this end. He also has a very annoying habit to me of only contesting shots hard when a block shot is possible....if he thinks he is too far away he will just keep his hands down and not bother to contest.

    As a screen/roll defender, I think he will be fine. He has the lateral quickness and size to at least step out and make a ball handler think before attacking him, and he will be able to recover to his man at an average rate. Teams that ball screen/dive to the post will hurt him though, as Davis can't over power anyone at all who establishes position on him first.

    Davis will have some trouble guarding the perimeter 4 guys of the world. While he moves his feet fairly well, he doesn't seem as comfortable when left on an island on the perimeter. He plays stiff legged, and guys with enough skill will be able to take him off the dribble. To counter balance that he will end up playing pretty far off them, which mitigates his major defensive strength of blocking shots.


    Davis should be a guy who puts up good numbers rebounding the basketball, and will be above average for his position in the NBA.

    Davis hunts rebounds, and doesn't always do a great job of the traditional blockout. But what he does do is read the ball off the rim well, and while he isn't the longest armed guy, he does corral what he gets his paws on. Davis has strong hands, and he often is the first guy in the air, a very good scouting sign. He isn't the highest, but he will be first a lot of the time.

    What he can't do right now is be relied upon to get that crucial physical rebound in traffic, due to his lack of balance when being jostled and lack of strength. How much stronger he gets will decide if he can be the guy you want in the game in a crucial rebound situation or not.


    So, what do we have in Ed Davis?

    I think we have a prototypical young big man with some above average potential, but with clear weaknesses and who is a longer term project than others in this draft we could take.

    He isn't overly skilled and likely never will be, but he does have some upside and could potentially develop into a rotation big man for teams around the league, maybe even becoming a starter for some team in the right situation. How he develops his body and how hard he works on his game will determine how good he can be.

    Let me say this: put 30 lbs on him, get him in the weight room, and give him some low pressure time to develop with solid coaching and by year 3-4 he potentially could be a really nice player for a good team....if everything works out.

    By all accounts, Davis is a well spoken young man with high character and intelligence, and will probably be a hard worker in the league. Growing up the wealthy son of an NBA player, Davis has had a different upbringing than most have, so he doesn't have the hardscrabble background that others I will be profiling will have.

    The ideal scenario for Davis is to go to a team that is well stocked and well coached, and that he can sit, learn, and develop slowly for a couple of years before being asked to play a major role. Or, to go to a team that thinks about things much more long term than the "win immediately" that most franchises usually have.

    Davis could really pan out down the road, but this year he won't help much at all in my view.

    Despite that, I could see him getting selected ahead of us. In fact, I think he will. Davis seems like an excellent fit for the long term project going on in Detroit, at #7. I believe the Pistons will take Davis, sit him, and bring him along slowly.

    If not, he could go to us at #10, or to Toronto at #13 perhaps.


    So, how would Davis fit as an Indiana Pacer?

    Actually he could fit in really well down the road. High character, very intelligent, and much more athletic than anyone we currently have on the roster. Right now? Not so much.....unless there are other plans to move people we don't know about.

    While I don't view Davis as a long term star by any means, I do think he possibly could be a nice fit in time, if his body grows enough to allow him to play some back up center minutes. Right now he'd get killed, but eventually with some added strength he actually makes some long term sense I think.

    If we did take him, and he could sit a year behind some of our veterans and learn the game and the league while getting stronger, that wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

    Because I project Davis to be a big enough/strong enough player to be able to play some Center minutes as a backup in time, I would not be completely upset if we did take him at #10, though he won't help us hardly at all in 2010-2011.

    If the decision is made that he cannot ever get strong enough to play Center minutes, and is stuck as a one position 4 man, then I would pass.

    Overall I project Davis to be a backup guy, or a starter in the exact right circumstance. A high character guy who gets a niche and has a long career, barring any major injuries. But not a star by any means....Davis has "role player" all over him.

    Because of his youth and the fact that he isn't as ready to contribute immediately as others, I look for the Pacers to ultimately pass on Davis, if he is available at #10....though I wouldn't be shocked if we took him either.


    Modern day comparison: An upper class version of Jeff Foster

    Past comparison: P.J. Brown

    As always, the above is just my opinion.


  • #2
    Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

    I don't think he's tough enough to be Ed Davis. I'd classify him as Joe Smith.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    • #3
      Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

      If you put 30 pounds on him, would you seem him break down more often?


      • #4
        Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

        Originally posted by iPACER View Post
        If you put 30 pounds on him, would you seem him break down more often?

        Kind of like JO.


        • #5
          Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

          Originally posted by pacers74 View Post
          Kind of like JO.
          Didn't we try the same thing with Foster and Murphy?


          • #6
            Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

            I agree with most of your points about strengths and weaknesses, but overall I personally think he has a bit higher ceiling than you do. I thinking how close to Dale he could be isn't the way I'd approach evaluating him. I'd like someone to be our next DD, but is that guy in this entire draft? But perhaps you were just refuting ideas that he could be like DD.

            I do agree that PJ Brown is a good comparison, and I certainly wouldn't mind having the next PJ Brown. I definitely agree that strength is an issue for Davis, and it's probably an even greater issue for another guy I like, Udoh, but the fact is that if Davis also had incredible strength and was NBA-ready right now, we wouldn't be discussing him here just like we aren't discussing Favors. He would be long gone, and he still may disappear at #7 like you said.

            I would take Davis at #10. The Pacers need help at PF and PG immediately, but they aren't going to get that from the guys available at #10 in this draft. Long-term, I could see Davis developing into a very solid player at Indiana.


            • #7
              Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

              I'm not interested in using the #10 pick on another Foster at best player. Sorry, I want more in a player. Not to mention, Bird can't afford to draft a player who will take 3-4 years to develop into a "role player" type. IMO, if Bird drafts Davis, it will be nothing more than a wasted pick at a very ill afforded time. The Pacers just can't afford a 3-4 year project at this stage of the game.


              • #8
                Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                Originally posted by Justin Tyme View Post
                I'm not interested in using the #10 pick on another Foster at best player. Sorry, I want more in a player. Not to mention, Bird can't afford to draft a player who will take 3-4 years to develop into a "role player" type. IMO, if Bird drafts Davis, it will be nothing more than a wasted pick at a very ill afforded time. The Pacers just can't afford a 3-4 year project at this stage of the game.
                Jeff was the starting center on a 61 win team...I think we could do a lot worse.


                • #9
                  Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                  Originally posted by Mr. Sobchak View Post
                  Jeff was the starting center on a 61 win team...I think we could do a lot worse.
                  Yes, but Jeff was the 21st pick. Not the 10th. Although the Pacers DID trade their own 1st round pick plus another 1st for him. He was also the starter for a number of teams who did not win 61 games. Let's give him his due, but not overvalue what he did on that team.

                  I like Foster, but I've never thought he was worth two 1st rounders.
                  Last edited by Tom White; 05-31-2010, 10:19 AM.


                  • #10
                    Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                    I think PJ Brown would be a great goal for him. However, not to get back to the Dale comparison, PJ himself was stronger than he looked and, while not necessarily menacing, played with a chip on his shoulder. I think Ed has the body that he could put some real muscle on, and he needs to play with more aggression. Both of those ultimately come down to heart and head.

                    Overall I think Ed's a great example of what Ryan Carr was talking about, raw talent that's gonna come down to how they develop.
                    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!


                    • #11
                      Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                      Yeah, I also hope we don't draft him. I hope he does get drafted before us and a guy like Monroe or another good prospect falls to us. Project big men take a long time to develop IMO, and even then half of them don't wind up being very good.

                      See:Ty Thomas, Javale McGee, Pat O'Bryant, Saer Sene, Channing Frye, Diogu, Wilcox, Diop, Bargnani, Kwame, Shelden, Emeka, Drew Gooden, Stro Swift, Marcus Fizer, Olowakandi, Lafrentz......

                      I'm just sayin'....all those guys were top 10 picks in the last 10 years. Color me skeptical. Amare, Kaman, Bynum, Pau, Bosh, Dwight, Bogut were all top 10 picks as well and they panned out. I just don't think Ed Davis would ever be much more than a 6th man at best, and that's what a lot of people think of Tyler. Just think there'd be a move that could help us more short term and long term.


                      • #12
                        Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                        Originally posted by Mr. Sobchak View Post
                        Jeff was the starting center on a 61 win team...I think we could do a lot worse.

                        He's also been a starter in Jimmy's 1st two years of 36-46 records. I think we can and have to do better.


                        • #13
                          Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                          Originally posted by Justin Tyme View Post
                          He's also been a starter in Jimmy's 1st two years of 36-46 records. I think we can and have to do better.
                          And you act like that is there were no other factors.

                          Jeff starting with this cast is not good. Starting with the cast of that 61 team, was alright.


                          • #14
                            Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                            Has any of the guys that like Davis ever see him playing? were is all the Davis love coming from? I watched the guy in the few games that he played this year and he has nothing to be a top ten pick.

                            I agree with Tbird's and I would ad that this guy is one of the softest guys I have ever seen in my life.
                            Last edited by vnzla81; 05-31-2010, 11:48 AM.
                            @WhatTheFFacts: Studies show that sarcasm enhances the ability of the human mind to solve complex problems!


                            • #15
                              Re: Tbird's 2010 draft analysis #4: Ed Davis

                              Originally posted by Major Cold View Post
                              And you act like that is there were no other factors.

                              Jeff starting with this cast is not good. Starting with the cast of that 61 team, was alright.

                              I just showed the opposite of the 61 win year. You can't just have the good and dimiss the bad. Foster is what he is and nothing special. I expect the Pacers can get a better player at #10 than Foster. If Bird doesn't, I'm going to be extremely disappointed.