The Orlando Magic will be looking to bring in some new faces this summer and as discussed here recently these players are unlikely to be big names. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any desirable players out there though, in fact there are quite a few who Orlando would love to have. Although this team is insanely young as it is, with veteran pickups making more sense, you can never have too many young and talented players. They will either pay off in the long run or multiple players can be packaged in order to bring in some higher level talent. With that in mind, the Magic should look long and hard at Ed Davis of the Memphis Grizzlies.
We’ll start with the financial side of things; the Grizzlies are in no position to be able to match a lot of offer sheets for their restricted free agent. More than that though, they might not want to, even though it is not entirely sure why. Obviously both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are the go to big guys on this team, they are a devastating power punch when playing. The problem with that though is that Gasol has had his injury worries this year and Randolph isn’t getting any younger. Still though, despite these two missing time, Davis still only averaged 15.2 minutes a game this year. He only started four games despite some key injuries as well which shows the lack of trust there for this player at the moment. Were the Magic to overpay even slightly for this guy, which they have the financial capability to do, then he could be their player for a relatively small fee.
Although tough to gauge how good he can be, given that he’s never been trusted to play big minutes, on paper there is a lot to like. Regular statistics won’t tell you much, but 13.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per 36 minutes is noticeable. His player efficiency rating of 15.9 also is above the league average of 15, showing he must be doing something right on the court for his team when they actually give him the chance. Chances are something that look limited here though, which is why the Magic might be able to snag him. Although Nikola Vucevic is looking like a lock at center for as long as he sticks around, and Tobias Harris is a power forward with real potential, is Davis not worth a risk? He’s 24 and can play both the center and power forward positions better than most realize. Yes, the jump shot needs polishing and offensively not much would run through him, but there is still time to learn these things and couple them with his great work ethic.
Another interesting take on why Orlando could look into going after him is the use of their draft picks on different kinds of players. Although this is not a point guard-heavy draft, with more bigs and forwards of promise to sift through, having somebody like Davis who at least understands the league allows the team to maybe take a bigger risk on the player they do pick. They would have plenty of big players on the team and could therefore go after a guard who they feel could be a diamond in the rough for them. Davis could then act as a safety net if that particular pick didn’t work out. At worst, he could be sent on at a later date with other young players in a potential blockbuster trade to bring this team right back into the thick of the playoff hunt.
Will the Orlando Magic go for Ed Davis? They might, but they should definitely look at it seriously. He represents a player with a chip on his shoulder having not been given the opportunity yet in this league to really showcase his skills. He is going nowhere fast in Memphis and his numbers tell the story of a great role player just bursting to get out. It wouldn’t cost the world to untie him from his current situation either, in what really looks a low risk move. It would be a move that would garner next to no media attention, and yet could end up being one of the smartest pickups of the summer come next year. Orlando, free Ed Davis!