It should come as no surprise that their most recent moves indicate the franchise’s plan to find the next productive player of their stature. On Wednesday, the Lakers signed Ed Davis to a two-year deal worth $2 million. Davis was the 13th selection in the 2010 NBA draft, originally chosen by the Toronto Raptors. Davis started only 50 games for Toronto, before being traded as a centerpiece in a deal that brought Rudy Gay to the team. Gay was moved from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Despite the potential he flashed coming out of the University of North Carolina, Davis has yet to solidify himself in an NBA rotation. His rookie season showed promise, as he posted 7.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He’s got good size, standing at 6’10” and combines his height with athleticism. He also uses his wingspan (7’0″) to protect the room and alter shots.
Davis is just 25, and is working to put together an array of offensive skills to expand his game.
With the departure of both Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman, Davis will join a Lakers frontline where he could see major minutes. In both Toronto and Memphis, minutes were scarce and Davis could not find much consistency. Los Angeles also added Julius Randle, Carlos Boozer, and re-signed Jordan Hill.
The rotations will likely feature a combination of each player this season. Developing both Randle and Davis together will be one of the goals of the Lakers roster. He will be an interesting fit alongside Randle, especially on both ends.
Davis is likely to have an immediate impact on the defensive end. He has registered at least one block in three of his five NBA seasons. The Lakers have not had good rim protection since Dwight Howard’s exit. A player like Davis is what Randle could in the interior.
The two young players can also develop cohesion on offense. Randle shows the ability to extend beyond the paint, and can make plays for others. Davis is the opposite, as he is interior-oriented and finishes around the rim. According to prestointhepaint.com, he finished at the rim at a rate of 67.3 percent.
The youth that Davis will provide gives Laker fans a breathe of fresh air. Last season’s best player in the frontcourt was Pau Gasol at age 34. Los Angeles has a chance to build for the future with such a young prospect. The biggest surprise in acquring Davis, was retaining flexibility going forward.
At $1 million per season, the Lakers also included next year’s deal as a player option. For a potential talent like Davis, the Lakers got a steal in terms of price and potential.
If he can take advantage of his minutes and settle into a role, the Lakers can look to extend him when he re-enters free agency. Los Angeles will definitely have the cap room, so Davis would possibly get a chance to surrounded by a strong core of players looking to take the Lakers back to the top of the NBA.