Davis has never had much of a face-up game — though that term is a bit of a misnomer. Ed certainly plays facing the basket; just not in the sense that he’s going to beat someone off the dribble or consistently step into jumpers. Luckily for him, this reputation often leads to this:
Defenses and scouts still haven’t caught up with how athletic and skilled he is. The lane seems to open up like that all the time because no one expects him to attack it. Players in the post relax because Ed isn’t known as “that” type of player that’s going to make them pay. But Davis can explode towards the basket with finesse from 12-15 feet out like few guys with his length can — even if he isn’t going to get confused for Kevin Durant any time soon.
Ed has quietly been dominant at times while Toronto. So much so that he attempted to screw with the cosmos when he dropped 24 & 12 on the Nets on 12/12/12 last December. Even in Chapel Hill Ed always had the ‘go-to’ move that’s the mark of an eventual long-time pro, but just in the last few months has his game fully fleshed-out and proven to be ridiculously polished at times for what would be his rookie season had Eazy E been in college four years. Davis was just shredding the Nets on #Mayans day with all sorts of combos that don’t really fit in with his prescribed “shot-blocker/rebounder” trope:
Toronto had to make the Rudy Gay deal, but Davis will do fine in Memphis. He foils perfectly alongside the bruiser Zebo, and the pass-happy Spaniard Gasol has to be salivating over Ed’s soft hands (or whatever excited Spaniards do).
The Davis legacy will always be sketchy at UNC — part NCAA Title, part Larry Drew, part Lottery. But Carolina fans might have to warm back up quickly, Ed is going to be one of the better Heels in the NBA for a while.