Memphis Grizzlies forward Deyonta Davis is one of a few young guys on this Memphis roster. He will most likely follow a similar path to those rookies that have come before him.
2015-2016 Season Overview
Davis spent last season with the Michigan Spartans, averaging 7.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game under head coach Tom Izzo. The 6-foot-11 forward was projected to go in the top 20 in the 2017 NBA Draft after showing potential in his only season at Michigan State.
The Michigan native has a 7-foot-2 wingspan, which is comparable to that of Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Tristan Thompson. He is a bouncy forward/center with a limited offensive game, nice rebounding skills, and sky high defensive potential.
Then something surprising happened: Davis sat in the green room as pick after pick flew by. He sat and he sat until the first round ended without his name being called. The Grizzlies proceeded to make a surprising trade to move up in the second round and snag him with the 31st pick in the draft.
Davis missed summer league and has been limited coming into training camp because of plantar fasciitis. It’s hard to pin down the role for a rookie in the Grizzlies’ system; add on an injury that could flare up, and it’s even more difficult.
He has three people in front of him on the depth chart - Zach Randolph, JaMychal Green, and Jarrell Martin - so playing time could be hard to come by. He can also play some center, even though he needs to get stronger.
I think the most likely role Davis will play this season will be with the Iowa Energy. Once he’s healthy he’s going to bounce back and forth between Memphis and Iowa like the other rookies before him. Maybe he will get some time when Randolph or Marc Gasol are resting or someone can’t go.
2016-2017 Best Case Scenario
Davis’ best case scenario is one in which Memphis fans actually see a rookie contribute. I think he could leapfrog Martin for minutes if he is healthy, but getting minutes over Green would be tough.
Best case scenario, Davis is able to sub in at the four or five and contribute as a hustle man and defender. He could be effective in some small ball lineups, or next to Gasol or Wright. He won’t be on any rookie of the year lists, but he could surprise everyone.
2016-2017 Worst Case Scenario
The worst case scenario is that Davis’ plantar fasciitis keeps flaring up, and he is unable to see any time on any court. He’ll just be another rookie on the injury report that Grizzlies fans become more accustomed to seeing in a suit than a jersey.
I find it best to go into Davis’ Memphis career with tentative excitement. He definitely has potential, something that will be tapped into down the road. This first year will be about getting and keeping him healthy, and seeing what he is capable of in Iowa.