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Ed Davis and the art of rebounding

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NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In a lot of ways, Ed Davis is what the Nets had hoped Kevin Garnett would be back in the day. Davis is not KG but his very presence, toughness and ability to grab the damn ball is reminiscent of the Hall of Famer. Besides, Davis is 29, eight years younger than Garnett was when he joined the Nets.

Gritty doesn’t begin to describe his style of play, but as Howard Megdal writes in FanSided, there’s a science as well as an art to Davis’ rebounding prowess.

“If you look at the court it’s got spots where like 88 percent of the time, the ball lands in a certain spot,” Davis told Megdal prior to Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. “So I try to stand in the hot spots and that helps out a lot. I’m always thinking about my position instead of other things while I’m out there. So my mind is always offense, rebound, offense, rebound.”

Davis, in fact, is having a career year backing up Jarrett Allen. And as a result, he is a great bargain, having been signed to a one-year, $4.4 million deal.

“What his offensive rebounding does, it punishes—I think everybody’s switching now, so when they switch a guard on Ed Davis, now Ed Davis cleans up the offensive rebound,” Kenny Atkinson explained to Megdal. “So I think if I’m a coach scheming against Ed, you gotta be a little careful switching with Ed out there because he’s going to punish us on the boards. It’s been a big help for our offense.”

The numbers confirm it, as Megdal writes...

Davis has always excelled on the boards — grabbing of 18.3 percent of all available rebounds in his career, including 12.9 percent on the offensive glass. But those numbers jumped to 21.3 and 13.7 last year, and this season reached 25.4 and 19.1 — good for second in the NBA in total rebounding percentage and first on the offensive boards, surrounded by big names like Andre Drummond, DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside.

The veteran Davis has also worked with Allen, a willing student, on his skillset.

“I’m giving him pointers here and there,” Davis said of Allen last week. “But whenever you can get in-game experience, it helps a lot. He’s learning what he can and can’t get away with. When you’re young in this league, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt with the whistle. But he’s a good player and is going to keep getting better and better.”

The 6’10” UNC product has also become a fan favorite as he was in Portland where not only fans, but stars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum lamented his departure.

“It doesn’t matter if you got the guy who jumps the highest in the world,” Davis said. “If I can hold him off like this, the ball can fall right in my lap. So it doesn’t have to do with athletic ability. It’s more [that] I’m in the right spot the right time.”

And as our Anthony Puccio reported earlier this week in a Tweet, that “right spot” going forward appears to be Brooklyn, N.Y.