Ed Davis sits next to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak at his introductory press conference in El Segundo, California on July 23, 2014.
“It’s tough to say that without a coach,” Los Angeles Lakers’ newest signing Ed Davis responded when asked about what role he would play on the team.
Ten minutes after signing his contract with the Lakers, Davis walked into an overcrowded media room that was uncomfortably hot. He held up and posed alongside a gold No. 21 jersey.
“That’s my college number at North Carolina,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said as he joined Davis in the photo opportunity.
When asked about the significance of the number, Davis said, “That was my number in high school, in my ninth grade year.”
So who is Davis and what does he bring to the 2014-15 Lakers?
“I can play both positions--the four and the five,” Davis said. “What I bring: Athleticism, defend, rebound—all the little things.”
Davis was the 13th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. After spending two and a half years with the Toronto Raptors, Davis was a part of the Rudy Gay trade with the Memphis Grizzlies and ended up as a backup to Zach Randolph, also known as “Z-Bo,” and Marc Gasol.
“It was great playing behind both of them,” Davis said about Gasol and Randolph. Defensively, Davis targeted Gasol to study under, “picking his brain.” From Randolph, Davis said he learned “every night” and pointed to the “intangibles” that coaches cannot teach.
In his only full season with Memphis, Davis started four games and played 15.2 minutes per game. He averaged 5.7 points, 4.1 rebounds on 53.4 percent shooting from the field. Playing the power forward and center positions, Davis is not a player designed to stretch the floor. In fact, he has never attempted a three-point field goal over his four-year career.
Joining the stable of Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre and Julius Randle in the front court, Davis will again have to fight hard to earn time of the floor.
“I think he’s going to be a real good player in this league,” Davis said about Lakers’ rookie Randle. “He kind of reminds me of a ‘Z-Bo’ a little bit, but he can put it on the floor a little better than ‘Z-Bo.’”
Several sources reported that Davis agreed to a two-year $2 million contract with the player holding an option on the second year.