Deyonta Davis is coming into his second year with the Memphis Grizzlies. He has pretty much been a big question mark this far into his career. As the 31st pick in the 2016 draft, he was a raw, athletic big out of Michigan State. His upside on draft night was that he could be a rim-protecting 4/5 that could run the floor when needed.
Memphis took a small gamble on him with the thought that their core of veteran bigs could help him turn into a formidable talent. Unfortunately, that has yet to happen. Davis might get the opportunity this year, but first, he needs to put together any kind of quality preseason minutes to justify a chance.
2016-2017 Season Overview
Last season, Deyonta Davis did not do much consistently to impress anyone with the playing time he received. While appearing in only 36 games, Davis averaged 6.6 minutes a game and averaged only 1.6 points and 1.7 rebounds a game. These measly results disappointed many that were hopeful he could develop into a good rotation guy off the bench.
As there was a logjam in the frontcourt, Davis was not able to eat away minutes from the other guys in front of him on the depth chart. But, at the same time, he did not show anyone why he should be getting more consistent minutes anyway.
Davis was drafted as a longer-term project given his age and raw talent that was shown off at times at Michigan State. Last year, he probably showed his best asset was his rim protecting and defense. Even as many times he looked lost on the court, Davis used athleticism to recover defensively.
The hardest part about Davis’s season was that the minutes he did play were mostly garbage time minutes. This is where he could have really shined proving his development in his rookie campaign. He failed to do so last year, so it will be imperative he develops this coming season.
Deyonta Davis may end up having a bigger role this season than last year. With the departure of Zach Randolph, the distribution of minutes will help Davis gain more minutes to develop. This is something he desperately needs. In the two preseasons games this season, Davis has not looked impressive at all. The first game he grabbed seven rebounds but somehow went 0-6 from the field. He improved upon his shooting, thankfully, in his second game going 3-4 while grabbing four boards.
This 0-6 is especially concerning given the peak of what he has shown so far. Davis catches and lays it in or dunks it, and his range doesn’t go beyond the restricted area. That is what the Grizzlies are working with this coming season. He should get his opportunity this season only being in his second year, but there is no telling what he will be able to do with it.
2017-2018 Best Case Scenario
The best case for Davis is that he develops some inside technique and gains an understanding of the game at the NBA level (Yes…that is really the best case scenario). Unless he has been holding back a whole heck of a lot, there is nothing in his game that shows he is ready to make a jump to big minutes a game guy.
It will be most important for him to have an increase of minutes against NBA competition. He is still young, raw, and athletic, so there is a chance he can gain the basketball IQ to show he’s ready for a bump in minutes.
2017-2018 Worst Case Scenario
The worst case would be if he just never picked up the game at the NBA level. There are many times that he looks incompetent in the post. He has no offensive post up or technique at this point in his development, and worst case would be if he didn’t show any improvement this year at all.
Davis has the tools to be a decent NBA player if he can put all the intangibles together. His size, athletic ability, and youth can all play in his favor if he can gain some offensive moves around the post.
However, you know what the three adjectives are that always attach to a talent that never pans out? Raw talent, athletic ability, and youth.
That is what is most concerning about Davis. Yes, it has only been a year, but he has not shown anything to prove to the fans or coaches he has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Shot-blocking and skills protecting the paint are the two talents he can utilize this year with could help this Grizzlies team. It will just depend on his work ethic to grow as a player.
This season is yet another big question mark for Davis. He has the ability to make the jump to the next tier on a long road in the NBA, but there is a better possibility it just does not come together for him. The overall expectations are not too high for Deyonta Davis this season with the Grizzlies.
All stats provided by BasketballReference.com and NBA.com