Media Filtering: Ed Davis & Ron Tillery on Sports 56

Learn this in Summer League - USA TODAY Sports

Ed Davis went on Sportstime on AM 560 WHBQ this morning to clear the air with Ron Tillery of The Commercial Appeal, but a foul odor still lingers.

In case you missed it a couple of days ago, Ed Davis and Ron Tillery had a bit of a discussion via Twitter about Davis' absence from the Memphis Grizzlies' Summer League roster that was punctuated with a zinger from Davis' about the coach that suggested he play in SL being currently unemployed (and Tillery subsequently laughing out loud).

Before I delve into the interview, let me make my opinion on Summer League clear:

  • I'm not sure how the single instance of a player logging an hour of organized basketball against mediocre competition over the course of 2-3 games actually improves a player's skills
  • Summer League didn't exist before 2004, and yet players still improved every year
  • Summer League progress/success can mean absolutely nothing - see Josh Selby, DeMarre Carroll, Sam Young, Hasheem Thabeet, Jeremy Pargo and their Summer League stats
  • In Grizzlies Summer League history there has been ONE participating player who had more than 2 years experience in the NBA (Marcus D. Williams) - Davis is going into his 4th season with a 17.82 PER.

I'm not sure whose idea it was, or who told who to get together and make up, or if the interview had already been scheduled before the mini-feud, but the two men commenced to bury a hatchet and bandage up hurt feelings in a 10-minute-ish interview that can be found here at the Sports 56 website under the Featured Audio section near the bottom, righthand side.

I wasn't offended at all. I just made that comment to be funny. -Ed Davis on Woloshin suggesting he was offended by being asked to play Summer League

Tillery and host Dave Woloshin took a lighthearted tone towards Davis, making sure they spelled out how "the Twitter world" overreacted and turned their back-and-forth into unfounded "fireworks.". They discussed actual things that Ed Davis was working on this summer, including getting stronger while maintaining his leaner frame, and working on a low post game with a go-to move - but there was something about this interview that irked me after I listened to it a couple of times.

Maybe it was Tillery and Woloshin posturing defensively like Ed Davis was about to lose his mind and start screaming at them both. Maybe it was Woloshin treating the interview like a WWE Smackdown bit where two heated rivals attempt to make peace before losing tempers and hitting each other with chairs. Maybe it was Tillery introducing Ed with LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out." Maybe it was Woloshin signing off to Ed Davis with what sounded like a sardonic "thanks for being a good sport today, wish you the best of luck and get stronger." Or maybe it was both Woloshin and Tillery referring to Davis's "immaturity" after they had gone off air with him.

Yeah, it might have been that last one. I'm all for speaking your mind, and I'm even one of those people that grabs a bag of popcorn for some good, personal confrontation, but taking a shot at Davis' "immaturity" moments after he hangs up the phone is cowardly. Tillery and Woloshin's condescending cheapshot was directed at Davis' tweet about "being asked by a coach who doesn't have a job right now."

Hopefully I'm not a finished product at 24. -Ed Davis

Immature? I think Hollins' unemployment is a phenominal point to bring up when it comes to discussing his coaching advice. It's a much better point than Tillery's analogy of OJ Mayo going to play Summer League before his 3rd season. Mayo wanted to play point guard, a position for which his skills were not a fit (but oh boy, did those 2 games have a cosmic effect on Mayo's ability to dribble #sarcasm). Ed Davis plays power forward, and Ed Davis can already jump, rebound, block and throw it down. You know what Ed Davis really needs to work on? Free throw shooting. You know where that's done? In a gym, by yourself with a ball.

I think people kinda took what I said the wrong way, I don't care if you play in Summer League .. it's not a big deal. -Ron Tillery on why he tweeted about something that wasn't a big deal (?)

But don't miss the forest for the trees here - this entire debacle started with Tillery's unhedged emotional attachment with Lionel Hollins, and the fact that Tillery felt secondhand disrespect from fans and Davis' rejection of Hollins' suggestion that he play in Summer League. When Davis defends himself and notes that he is capable of improving his game with methods other than suggestions from an unemployed coach, Tillery tries to whitewash Davis' logic by calling him "immature," and doing so with a moderate amount of disdain. Yes, we are now being told who is immature by the man who tweeted these gems:

this entire debacle started with Tillery's unhedged emotional attachment with Lionel Hollins

The purpose of this blog is to cover happenings with the Memphis Grizzlies, but by God if I'm not going to stand up for someone who seems to be getting picked on. Ed Davis doesn't have a talk show or a sports column upon which to perch his pompous opinions; he just has the 10 minutes he gets on the radio to refute the idea that he doesn't want to work hard in his profession. But I bet after that interview, Ed was soon in a gym, working on his game and those low block moves, doing his job like a professional. Like a professional.

Let's let players be players, coaches be coaches, and journalists be journalists.

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