Ed Davis and how he defines the Raps future

So a few days ago Tim Chisholm posted this in regards to Ed Davis

To sum it up, he's basically saying BC never really wanted to draft Ed but felt obligated to (because he dropped in the draft), he's redundant (hate the word) with Amir, he's not as good as last year and his defense are rebound don't make up for his lack of offense. In the end he's likely to be traded.

So I have to ask:

How much of the above is true and is it the right way to go?

1. BC never really wanted to draft Ed.

I can't speak to this completely because I'm not part of BC's inner circle (and I imagine if I was I'd be fired by now anyways). But I do remember when Ed was drafted there were numerous comparisons made with Ed and Bosh. The difference of course was that Ed was less refined offensively but would be better defensively. So right off the bat we know this isn't BC's kind of player (hey-o).

2. Redundant with Amir

Here's why I hate the word. Redundancy doesn't matter. Or more specifically redundancy doesn't matter if two guys aren't playing at the same time. I do see the similarities in Amir and Ed's game. Both are undersized if at C, neither are strong even at PF, neither are offensively gifted players, and they are both 'lunch box' kind of guys. So I see the issue if both are starting, or both are on the floor at the same time. But its not as if it HAS TO be that way. The 'redundancy' only exists because of the need to play Andrea at PF. The redundancy argument isn't really a good reason, but it makes a great red herring.

3. He's not as good as last year

This is one at face value I thought was obvious. Ed isn't playing as well as last year. There are no doubt a few reasons for this - coaching change, change in style of play (slow pace) or maybe a sophmore slump. Maybe all are true, maybe none. So I decided to look at a few numbers

- he averages 2 less points a game. Well he also averages 2 less minutes a game.... but that is a marginal difference. What are the real reasons for this drop? His eFG% has fallen from 57.6% to 50.2%. Not something anyone wants to see. His jump shooting has gotten worse, and an attrocious 21% from 16-23ft. 10 - 15ft isn't much better at 32%. And just from viewing games his jump shot looks ackward. I have no idea what happened from last season to this one, but if someone tried to help him change his shooting form they should be fired.

- his rebounding % is down, but its a small amount 0.4% nothing to really make a difference.

- his block and steal % is up, but again a small amount and nothing to write home about

- his turnover % is up quite a bit (from 10.1 to 13.9%) but his assist % has also increased (3.8% to 6.1%)

so what does this all mean in the end? Well suprisingly his numbers aren't all that different. While his shooting is worse, most other things he does are slightly better and partially offset that. Not entirely ofcourse but his #s haven't changed alot from last year

2011 WP/48 - 0.203

2012 WP/48 - 0.197

2011 WS/48 - 0.120

2012 WS/48 - 0.119

I'd be disingenuous if I didn't state it seems like Ed is worse, and in truth I would think one expects growth in a players 2nd year. But in the end its his shooting that is worse, which is a concern, but considering this team isn't a 'democracy' (to quote coach Casey), and they've changed the style/pace that is not really a big surprise. In fact one could make an argument Ed is doing exactly what Coach Casey wants more than anything else. Playing, and improving albeit slightly, defense.

4. His rebounding and defense don't make up for his lack of offense

Well as shown above his offense has gotten worse (eFG% anyways) and his basic defensive % haven't changed that much. But I'm going to add something

2011 ORTG - 120

2012 ORTG - 109 (down is bad)

2011 DRTG - 110

2012 DRTG - 102 (down is good)

some rather large drops right? Well yes and no. O/D Rtg are subject to the team as a whole, so considering coach Casey's change of pace and style, these aren't really a suprise. Almost every Raptor from last year has had similar drops in both offense and defensive ratings (Jose an exception as his ORTG has actually improved with Casey)

But lets compare

2011 ORTG - 105

2012 ORTG - 104

2011 DRTG - 115

2012 ORTG - 107

bet you'll never guess who I'm using as a comparison? Everyone's favorite pin cushion Andrea Bargnani (and its even worse if I used Derozan).

So Ed, who has both a better ORTG and DRTG (and Reb% too boot) than Andrea and Demar, doesn't have good enough defense (3rd best rating on the team), or rebounding (2nd best % on the team) to make up for his offense (4th best rating on the team)? Sigh.....

Before I go any farther I do realize ALL the numbers above are not perfect. I don't believe Ed is a better offensive player than Andrea or Demar. Ed just keeps things simple, while others do the 'harder stuff' and there is nothing wrong with that. I just wanted to point out that there is no reason to believe Ed's D and rebounding aren't good enough to offset his offense. Or, if we are going to make that argument, its hard not to point out that bigger culprits would perhaps be the resident Batman and Robin.

I also wanted to add Ed is only in his 2nd year and a sophmore slump in the NBA isn't unheard of. And yes that can be nothing more than an excuse. But he also hasn't had a full training camp (missed 2010 with injury, and 2011 was shortened) or a full season. He's played 30+ minutes just 9 times this year, and 36+ minutes just twice. But he's played less than 20 minutes 12 times and less than 15 minutes 6 times. His usage rate is also, amazingly, 2nd lowest on the team. Ahead of only Magloire. Thats right, the 2 D-leaguers are seeing more usage than Ed in their limited play. Aaron Gray is aswell. Rasual Butler? Yes he sure did. (Alabi is too but he doesn't count for squat)

So should the Raps trade Ed? Honestly I don't know for certain. This was one journalists opinion, and I don't really care that much. Every player should be available for the right price. Ed's not going to be a superstar and unlikely to be an all-star. He'll probably end up somewhere in the realm of role player to quality starter range. BUT, this is to me part of a bigger issue and the real meat.

This team was supposed to be 'rebuilding' and this year was supposed to be about evaluating talent. But did that happen? Is that happening? Or more specifically, is this happening with an open mind? His numbers aren't anything special, but neither are his minutes and opportunities. Even in his first game of the season he went 7/7 with 7 boards and 2 blocks, yet only saw 17 minutes floor time.

Some of this is of course from being held 'accountable' and that is important. But that accountability doesn't seem to be universal. Andrea and Demar, when they are not doing the very things Casey says are paramount, rarely seem to receive the same treatment or at the very least the same level of accountability.

So what is the real reason for this? Not to sound like a broken record, but 'rebuilding' was never happening and Ed was unlikely to ever be part of the build. The only talent evaluation was 'who fits with Andrea Bargnani' (and Demar Derozan). (see my Colangelowned post for more detail). This team, under the guise of 'rebuilding' (which was nothing more than an excuse for the result of poor decision making) has been chasing the same dream it did last year, just from a new perspective.

And that's what frustrates me. Not the possibility of trading Ed and not his 'redundancy' with Amir. Not his 'offense doesn't make up for his defense'. Not that he has to earn his minutes, career or future with the organization. But that these ideas should apply to EVERYONE. Yet it sure doesn't seem to. This team keeps refusing to recognize where its weaknesses lie and the claims to evaluating players lay within a preset context. (ie. who fits best with our pre-existing choices)

My other peeve, is the discussions in the media shouldn't be about Ed and his future with the Raps. The discussion should be about Demar and Andrea. How do these guys fit? Have they lived up to expectation? Which one of these guys (if not both) should be traded? But its not. It never is. Its always about questioning the role players... never about questioning the 'franchise' players, at least not when they are scoring.

'Pound the rock'? Defense and rebounding? Accountability? Such nice buzz words aren't they.

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