The Memphis Grizzlies are going to be a team to keep your eye on in the 2013-2014 NBA season. After making it to the Western Conference Finals last season, the Grizzlies have maintained their core of Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol and have also strengthened their bench on the offensive end by adding Mike Miller and potentially Mo Williams.
Another new face in Memphis for the upcoming season will be center Kosta Koufos, who came to the Grizzlies via a draft-night trade in exchange for power forward Darrell Arthur. Having a solid backup like Koufos will be huge for the Grizzlies, but losing Arthur will put a bit more pressure on Ed Davis, who is now going to be the primary backup forward.
Davis played 36 games for the Grizzlies last season after coming to Memphis in the Rudy Gay trade from the Toronto Raptors. For Memphis he averaged 5.1 points, 4.4 boards and 1.3 blocks in 15.1 minutes per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor. However, with Arthur in the mix, Davis really never developed a consistent role with Memphis. The upcoming season is going to be a different story, though.
In the 45 games Davis played with Toronto last year, he had a much more consistent role, averaging 24.2 minutes per game. He averaged 9.7 point, 6.7 boards, 1.2 assists and 0.8 blocks per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the floor. When given the minutes, Davis has proven he can be a solid contributor.
The biggest worry for Davis as he steps into this new role with the Grizzlies is if he can embrace the defensive-mindedness of the Grizzlies when he’s on the floor. Davis isn’t a poor defender, but he also has a slight tendency to take plays off. With Memphis, he’s going to need to stay engaged on that end of the floor.
With Davis, the Grizzlies know they are going to get an efficient low-post scorer that is an above-average rebounder and that can do a lot of things for them. Given the mentality of their team, his defensive worries shouldn’t end up being a problem and Davis could actually end up being an upgrade over Arthur.