In discussing why Portland let Ed Davis go —and recommended he sign with Brooklyn, Blazers GM Neil Olshey talked about how difficult the move was, but also how the 6’10” back-up center didn’t fit the NBA game, or at least Portland’s version of it.
“As productive as Ed was, there was certainly limitations in terms of what it exposed us to defensively by an elite defensive team like New Orleans,” Olshey told the Portland media Friday. The decision, he hinted, was made easier after the Pelicans swept the Blazers in the first round back in May.
Indeed, Davis scored only 2.8 points (but 8.0 rebounds) in 17 minutes per over the four playoff games, taking only 10 shots total. Offensively, his game is pretty much limited to putbacks and very short-range shots. He’s taken two 3-pointers since joining the NBA in 2010, missed both. Olshey said the Blazers wanted to play younger guys with more “advanced” offensive games.
On the other hand, as Brian Lewis points out, His 27.4 rebound percentage topped all players in the postseason and his 21.4 was seventh-best in the regular season. That’s the percentage of missed shots Davis grabbed. And his 103.9 Defensive Rating would’ve led the Nets.
For team that opposing bigs saw as raw meat, that’s a big advance ... and at a bargain price of $4.4 million, the room exception, over one year.
“I like Ed Davis a lot,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson told Lewis. “That’s my guy off the court, so I’m glad we added him to the puzzle, the equation. Just having him, adding his athletic ability, his strength, his rebounding, just that whole approach, his mentality to the game to be aggressive, to get up and down. That’s how we want to play. So just having him there, being able to do that is a big help to us.”
As RHJ notes, Davis also brings intangibles. Danian Lillard recognized that over the weekend, telling Oregon media how much he’s going to miss the 29-year-old.
“I loved Ed,” Lillard told media at summer league. “One of my best friends in the league [and] favorite teammates I’ve played with. To lose him, that’s a loss for our team.”
It’s easy to see how the Nets will integrate Davis into their defensive schemes, but how they’ll use him offensively is another thing. The Nets have limited scoring ability upfront —and limited in reserve— unless they make a move between now and October.
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