USA TODAY Sports
Ed Davis is headed to Memphis to play behind Grizzlies big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Can he help the team make a deep playoff push this season?
The Memphis Grizzlies traded away Rudy Gay on Wednesday, but they got some quality role players back in the deal that could help them make deep playoff runs over the next two seasons. Austin Daye is a versatile player who may be finding his niche in the NBA. Tayshaun Prince is everything Daye could ever hope to become. Ed Davis is probably the best player in terms of surplus value, which means he has the potential to make a big impact on the team.
The former North Carolina big man was once projected to go in the top three picks of the NBA Draft, but he stayed in school for an extra year and suffered a drop in his draft stock. The Raptors scooped the 6'10 power forward with the No. 13 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and, during his two-plus seasons in Toronto, he's endured some ups and downs.
Davis was efficient (15.8 PER, 58.3 percent TS) and effective (12.1 percent offensive rebound rate, 120 ORtg) during in his rookie season, but his numbers dipped in year two before jumping back this year. In 45 games with the Raptors for 2012-13, Davis posted 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game with a 57.0 True Shooting mark and a career-high 18.1 PER with six double-doubles in 24 starts.
His task in Memphis will be to shore up a bench unit that has routinely blown big leads established by the starters over the past few seasons. According to NBA.com's stat tool, the starting five for Memphis -- Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Gay, Randolph and Gasol -- have outscored opponents by 8.3 points per 100 possessions over 631 minutes this year, but things go downhill from there when more than two of those guys hit the bench.
Davis and Darrell Arthur must find a way to effectively spell Randolph and Gasol during the middle of games. The 23-year-old lefty is still on his rookie contract, and his salary is just $3.15 million next season, so Memphis will be getting a great deal even if Davis can't quite step up and be a top-flight backup.
A developing big man on a cheap deal with proven starters in his way to block any huge production could become a boon for Memphis if the team chooses to approach Davis about signing an extension. If he finds a way to break through and take the league by storm from the bench, it probably means Memphis is in an excellent position to compete for a top-four finish in that NBA season. Davis is a part of the Rudy Gay trade that the Grizzlies can't possibly lose.