From: Austin, Minnesota
Ed Davis - Sounds like our James Johnson replacement for 2021 (from 2018)
Everybody loves Ed Davis, the Nets big man who might be the NBA's best teammate
From Damian Lillard to Ben Wallace, those who know Davis raved about him to CBS Sports
By James Herbert
Dec 21, 2018 at 1:14 pm ET
NEW YORK -- "Usually people ask about people I don't like, and I have to lie," Evan Turner said. He was happy, then, to talk about his former Portland Trail Blazers teammate Ed Davis: "Really good dude. Wish he was back." When Davis agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in the early hours of July 1, Damian Lillard tweeted a broken heart emoji for one of his favorite teammates ever. For a moment after a shootaround at Madison Square Garden in November, Portland's franchise player imagined Davis strolling in and announcing he was coming back, to a chorus of hell yeahs.
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"Everybody loves Ed," Lillard said. "I just think just having him around, it was different. I think we expected him to be around forever. We were like, there ain't no way, there's no way Ed's going to ever be nowhere else. I still think about it."
Turner and Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu talk with Davis daily on a group text. Lillard is in touch with the big man once or twice a week and hasn't given up on bringing him back to Portland. Ask around, from Chapel Hill to Brooklyn, from coaches to PR people, and Lillard's assertion is proven correct: Everybody does love Ed.
"I'm in love," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed.
Keep your eyes on Davis during a game, and you will not be blown away by his athleticism. You might catch a highlight block or putback dunk, but he makes his money out-rebounding larger players, setting quasi-legal screens and finishing in traffic.
Davis leads the NBA in offensive rebounding rate. The hustle stats page on the league's official website functions as an advertisement for his game: Per-minute, Davis ranks first in box-outs and ninth in screen assists.
"I know Dame appreciates him because he's setting screens," Turner said. "He's risking his body trying to get offensive rebounds. You can always count him to be there at the rim for you. If you get beat on the drive, he leaves his man and tries to come over and contest the high-flier. Most of the time, they ended up in blocks, but if they ended up in dunks, he didn't care."
Turner was shocked the Blazers didn't re-sign Davis. "It was only $4 million," he said, cheap for a "consummate pro" who was "really, really, really invaluable" to the locker room. Davis came off the bench for 202 of his 220 games in Portland, playoffs included, but his "impact on the team was if he was a starter and one of the captains," Lillard said.
Lillard and Davis became close, however, for non-basketball reasons. There was "no B.S. to him," Lillard said, describing him as humble, regular and real.
"If it was up to me, me and Ed would be teammates for my entire career," Lillard said.
Davis is in Brooklyn partially because the front office believed he'd have a positive effect on its culture. The nine-year veteran can also credibly be called one of the best backup bigs in the league. These rave reviews, though, are rarely offered for role players. How, exactly, has Davis earned them?
"Being real," Davis said. "That's the main thing. Being professional. Working hard. Guys respect that. 'Cause obviously I'm not the most skilled guy. I know I'm not a shooter. Nothing about my game is flashy. But I come to work every day, I play hard, I'm respectful to everybody. I speak to everybody, talk to everybody. I'm trying to win. I literally put team first. Some people say that, but I literally do that. I know my role. All that has a lot to do with it."
Hats for Bats - - Keep Bats warm