In a season filled with much disappointment and frustration, there are have been a few bright spots for the Los Angeles Lakers.
One of those has been the play of veteran forward Ed Davis this season as he proven to be a definite steal from last offseason after he inked a two-year, $2 million deal with a player option for the second year.
Davis made the decision to take a smaller deal in hopes of maximizing his value on his next contract, and it has looks to have been the right choice as he is averaging career high marks in field goal percentage (61.4), rebounds (7.5), games played (76) to go along with averaging 8.3 points and 1.2 blocks.
The 25-year-old stated in his first press conference with the team that he was open to any role the Lakers had in mind for him. This has proven to be the case as he went being a bench player to a starter several times throughout the season.
However, through it out Davis continued to demonstrate that he is a legitimate big man that has a unique skill set. That was quite evident early on as Kobe Bryant took notice of that late in the preseason.
“He is so great around the basket, and is extremely active,” Bryant said following the Lakers 114-108 to Phoenix Suns on Oct. 21. “He knows how to space well. He has great jumping ability. Defensively he can be a real force for us, and his timely is just remarkable with his ability to block shots.”
That has transitioned to the regular season as Davis has been an excellent rim protector for the Lakers, which he has on a regular basis made it difficult for opposing players to get to the rim due to his presence. On offense has shown to be a valuable asset in the pick-and-roll game as he has flourished most running those sets with Jeremy Lin by using his ability to slide to the basket and finishing strong.
What Davis has also shown is that he is a player that doesn’t have any issue staying within his offensive skill set by solely working in the paint be it after a pick-and-roll or in the low post. With that frame of mind, he has been able to excel in a Lakers’ uniform in his set role as a player that is a rim protector, rebounder, and strong finisher at the rim.
This has in turn resulted in several standout performances by Davis this season. He became the first Laker to record 20-plus rebounds since Pau Gasol as he notched a career-best 20 rebounds with nine offensive boards on Feb. 2 against the Milwaukee Bucks. It also made him just one of nine Lakers to have a 20-plus rebound game in the last 20 years.
Davis also had his best offensive game against his former team in the Memphis Grizzles on Jan. 2 as he recorded a season-high 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting with eight rebounds, two blocks, and a steal. It was the first game of his career that he finished that those type of numbers. For the season, he has been the team leader in blocks 40 times, and has had 13 games with at least three blocks.
All in all, what the four-year veteran has clearly shown with his play is that he is a player that is certainly worth bringing back for next season. He has already stated that he plans to opt of the second year of his deal in hopes of hammering out a larger contract with the Lakers in the summer.
Head coach Byron Scott has stated throughout the evaluation process this season that he has seen identified players on the team that he would like to bring back next year. Davis is likely among that bunch as he his type of play is in line with Scott’s defense-first approach to the game, and has praised the 25-year-old’s play numerous times this season.
Davis has demonstrated in his short amount of time with the team is that he is a viable big man that is willing to adjust to any situation that he is put into, and is still able to perform well. He shown that he can be a player that Scott can build around moving forward, but will the Lakers be willing to bring him back
Ultimately, the answer to that question will be determined this upcoming offseason.