Ed Davis of the Memphis Grizzlies will be a restricted free agent this offseason, and by all accounts he is flying under the radar on everyone’s list of impact players. Davis, a 6-foot-10 PF/C, is currently buried on Memphis’ roster with big names Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph taking up the majority of the minutes. Yet, whenever the former North Carolina Tar Heel gets in the game, he produces — and in a way that shows up big-time with the stats geeks.
Davis has career averages of 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 54.2 percent in only 21.1 minutes per game. Extrapolate that to starter’s minutes and you get comparable numbers to Joakim Noah without the assists but with a higher field goal percentage. In fact, Davis ranks as one of the best rim protectors in the game this year. It’s a limited sample size, but players are shooting less than 40 percent when trying to score over him near the rim, which is tops among qualified players.
Among NBA circles, the 24-year-old is still held under very high regard. Memphis refused to include him in any deals at the trade deadline which leads one to believe they will make an attempt at matching low-ball offers. However, I would not be surprised one bit if Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak had his eye on him. Considering Kupchak’s UNC roots, I’m sure he has been following Davis’ career for a long time. If the Lakers can’t bring back Jordan Hill for a reasonable price, Davis should be the next guy in line to be the replacement on the front-line as their output is very similar.
The fact of the matter is Davis is a former lottery pick who is young and talented and truly has had bad luck cracking a rotation due to circumstances that have been completely out of his control. For the Lakers, it is a critical offseason for them to prove they can still find diamonds in the rough, and Davis is one of them.