Ed Davis was officially introduced as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
“It’s a great organization, franchise, a lot of history here, young team, I think there’s an opportunity where I can play and help this team win.”
Davis, will begin his fifth season in the NBA this fall as he tackles a new opportunity with the Lakers after stops in Toronto and Memphis. The 25-year old was originally selected no. 13 in the 2010 NBA draft by the Raptors and proceeded to have a quality rookie season, averaging 7.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 65 games.
After a slight decline the next season, Davis bounced back in the 2012-2013 season averaging a career-high 9.7 points before being included in the trade that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto. Considered one of the key pieces of the trade, Davis was never able to become comfortable in Memphis with the loaded front court of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph but despite the lack of playing time, Davis had nothing but good things to say about his former teammates and time with the Grizzlies.
“It was great playing behind both of them, just learning everyday in practice and games, just seeing how they score easy, and Marc just picking his brain on the defensive end,” said Davis. “He was Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. Z-Bo, just all the things that coaches can’t really teach you, the stuff that he does, all the intangibles that he has. Just learning from him every night, helped me out a lot.”
In Los Angeles, Davis will need to deal with another crowded front court which includes Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and recently drafted Julius Randle, who Davis says will be a “real good player in this league.” Despite the roster situation, Davis feels he can contribute and is ready to put in the work for the purple and gold.
“Keep working everyday, what I bring – athleticism, defend, run the floor, block shots, rebound, all the little things.”
Where he fits in that group remains to be seen as the Lakers are still without a head coach, but at 6’10” Davis could surely see time at the center position along with Hill and Sacre.
“I think I can play both positions, the four and the five. I think all the players here are different players and we all compliment each other in different ways.”
Throughout the press conference it became apparent that Davis comes in with a defensive mindset and understands the importance of that end of the floor, which is something that surely will be valuable to a team that was abused in the paint last season.
“It starts with a defensive mindset at first, that we’re going to shut people down and not try to outscore them. I think that’s the number one thing, to have that mindset.”
The Lakers will need more of that attitude if it hopes to improve on last season, which surely cannot be too difficult to accomplish after allowing 109.2 points per game, which was only second to the Philadelphia 76ers which allowed just under 110 points.
If anything else, Davis feels defense is where he will give the most to his new team, game in and game out.
“I think that’s something that I can rely on every night is defense and protecting the rim, whether that might be hard fouls or just being there at the right time, taking the charge, getting blocks, altering shots and things like that.”
The terms of the contract were not released by the team, although it was reported that Davis signed a two-year, $2 million deal with the second year being a player option. If Davis is able to find time on the team and continue his growth he showed in Toronto, the Lakers may have found one of the steals of the offseason.