Throughout my four years at Ole Miss, I begged and wished to not just be a basketball school, but to have some Rebels I can follow and monitor in the NBA. It took a minute, but during my senior year Kermit Davis turned around the program and helped the Rebels achieve the school’s first NCAA tournament since the 2014-15 season. Though they got smacked by Oklahoma in the first round, there’s still optimism surrounding this Kermit-led program.
My wish for a Rebel to follow into the NBA may also come true. After barely receiving an invite to the G-League Elite Camp, Davis clawed his way to Chicago’s draft combine and has risen up the draft boards — right now, slotted at 31st in The Ringer’s mock draft. He’s also worked out for the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Utah Jazz.
The Memphis Grizzlies don’t own a second-round pick at the moment, but we’ve seen them acquire him through draft-night trades plenty of times over the past several seasons. If they were to do so again, I’d keep an eye on Terence Davis. The 6’4” guard is a hometown talent (Southaven, MS). In addition, his style of play can help him become a complementary role player next to Jaren Jackson Jr. and (likely) Ja Morant, and his work ethic fits the city’s blue-collar mantra.
By the Numbers:
2018-19 season: 15.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.6 blocks in 31.0 minutes per game (33 games). Shooting percentages: 44.4/37.1/77.2.
Career (4 years): 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.6 blocks in 24.3 minutes per game. Shooting percentages: 44.5/33.9/71.7.
Let’s just start with this real quick:
Ok, back to it.
Terence Davis is an explosive combo guard that has the tools to be a strong backcourt mate next to (likely) Ja Morant. Though he doesn’t really possess the playmaking prowess to be a reliable on-ball creator or an initiator of the offense, he could still be a solid secondary playmaking option next to a good floor general. With an elite passer like Morant, Davis could play to his strengths as a cutter and off-ball player to capitalize on easy buckets in the paint.
In the next era of Grizzlies basketball, it’s easy to envision them revving up the tempo — or I, at least, hope so. With Davis, he has the athleticism and explosiveness to thrive in transition, as we can see him flash in the video above. He’s also a strong rebounder for a smaller player, and he could capitalize on that skill to ignite the fast-break.
In today’s NBA, “3-and-D” has almost become the standard for NBA wings, and Davis has the potential to fit that bill at the next level. During his senior year, he raised his 3-point percentage to 37.1 percent, a respectable clip. It’ll be interesting to see how it translates with a further 3-point line, as I never really saw him take many deep 3’s.
Unlike most stereotypical 3-and-D players, Davis has a solid first step and can create his own shot. With this skill, he can get hot from the field super quick and get on a nice scoring run.
Defensively, I love his versatility at that end. At 6’4” with his 6’8” wingspan, he has the size to guard positions 1-3. In addition, he possesses the lateral quickness to not get torched at the next level.
Terence Davis has the makings to become a solid wing for the next decade, but it all comes down to his shot selection and his 3-point shooting.
Areas of Improvement
Davis doesn’t have any alarming weaknesses, but there are definitely elements in his game that need more polishing. It’s a problem with most microwave, off-the-dribble scorers, but Davis could work more on his shot selection. The mid-range game has been analytically deemed a “bad shot,” so he needs to either become elite from there or focus more on his 3-point shot.
Though his shooting numbers this past season look nice, Davis’ potential as a shooter in the next level is hard to gauge. He shot below 34% from deep and under 73% from the free throw line in his previous 3 years at Ole Miss. Whether or not he could continue to improve on his jumper will determine the length and quality of his NBA career.
At 192 pounds, it’d be nice if he can gain some more muscle weight, especially if he projects more as a NBA wing. On switches, he could just be forced into the post and bullied all the way to the bucket. Gaining maybe 15-20 pounds of muscle could help him both on defensive and at finishing in the paint — which was a struggle for him.
Again, there’s nothing that really stands out as a primary weakness. There are just tweaks in his game, or to his body, could raise his ceiling.
In the short-term, Terence Davis could crack a rotation on a lottery team next season pretty easily. On a playoff team, his game and age translate to the immediate role of “spot rotation player” — a player that can sporadically produce in the event of an injury or foul trouble.
On a team like the Grizzlies, it’s easy to envision him as a rotation player next season. In fact, unless they find a starting-caliber one in free agency, he could compete with Dillon Brooks for the starting shooting guard position.
The Ringer NBA Draft Guide compares him to Will Barton, E’Twaun Moore, and Dion Waiters. I do like the Barton and Moore comparisons, but didn’t really see much Waiters in him, primarily because of his defensive activity. I see a lot of Malik Beasley in his game, as he possesses a similar offensive skillset, defensive versatility, and physical tools.
It’s not hard to imagine Davis being a solid NBA player for the next decade. He’s an explosive combo guard that can create his own shot, shoot from deep, and defend multiple positions. Whether or not his college production translates to a positive offense impact could be the difference between a NBA career and an overseas one. However, after watching his game grow these past 4 years, I’m willing to bet on Davis grinding his way to a productive NBA career, fulfilling my wish of following the career of an NBA Ole Miss Rebel.
Stats found on sports-reference.