Mar 14, 2012; Louisville, KY, USA; Brigham Young Cougars forward Brandon Davies (0) speaks during a press conference for the second round of the 2012 NCAA men
The 2013 version of the NBA Draft has come and gone and BYU’s all-conference big man is team-less. It was nearly 5 hours of madness, complete with a slew of “who traded this pick to whom and who’s getting this guy?” draft-day trades. Add in the breaking news of the blockbuster Celtics/Nets trade, and you’ve got yourself some good reality TV that doesn’t include Flava Flav, Snooki or ex-girlfriends of obscure and/or insignificant NBA players.
Should Davies have been drafted? Based on others’ opinions, yes, he probably should have. I reached out to Sam Amico from Fox Sports Ohio, who told me Davies belongs in the league. After Davies’ workout with the Jazz, the vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin noted that he could play in the league. Even West Coast Convo’s fearless leader, Josh Horton, concluded that Davies should get a call on draft night.
I haven’t reached out to those three gentlemen about whether they’re surprised that Davies went undrafted; however, my gut tells me that they may not have been totally shocked that it happened.
All in all, the second round of the NBA draft is like the honey badger – it does what it wants. Some teams seek to find a role player that fits a need. Some teams take the best player available. Some teams roll the dice on guys with red flags (i.e. Ricky Ledo, Tony Mitchell). Some teams like to “draft and stash” international players that they can import after a season or two or five. Because the second round does not guarantee a contract to the selected players, teams have less risk in selecting players that may or may not pan out. For example, if Tony Mitchell can focus in and realize his freakish potential, Detroit will have found themselves a steal. If he continues to underachieve, the Pistons have no obligation to him. A similar concept goes for international players – if those players falter during their stay in stashdom, there’s no commitment from the NBA team that drafted them.
In looking at the 2013 second round, there seem to be two groups of big men that were selected – those who were international, and those who had some discernible special thing about them (for the lack of a better description). Example – Arsalan Kazemi from Oregon. BYU fans may point to Davies 17.7 ppg and 8 rpg and say there’s no way Kazemi gets taken over Davies. Davies is bigger. Davies stood out at the Portsmouth Invitational. But… Kazemi rebounds like he’s got a fever and the only prescription is another rebound. That’s what teams want – the one thing that will be a sure addition to their roster. Alex Oriakhi brings size and defensive toughness. Ryan Kelly brings solid defense and floor-stretching shooting touch. Grant Jerrett can also stretch out the floor. And Tony Mitchell is a downright athletic beast of a man.
And that’s where Davies falls. He passes exceptionally well, as showcased in Portsmouth. But, as Perrin pointed out in that linked article, he’s not going to get the ball enough to showcase that skill. He’s not a pick and pop guy yet (I said “yet”), as his jumper still needs improvement. He hasn’t proven himself to consistently win the battle on the boards. And his slender frame creates questions as to his next-level defensive potential.
The silver lining in all of that negativity, though, is that Davies is pretty good at most things. He runs the floor well, he can hit the occasional jumper, he can get on the boards, and he does have a good wingspan, among other things. The unfortunate truth of it all is that he doesn’t have that one thing that teams could point to as an asset that would assuredly upgrade their team.
Sometimes it just takes waiting for the day after the disappointment to find some good news – it’s being reported that Davies will be joining the L.A. Clippers for the Las Vegas summer league. Not only is that great news in that he has the opportunity to impress the Clippers brass, he will also have the opportunity to impress all the teams there. In other words, even if L.A. doesn’t invite him to camp, it’s possible that another team will.
As for the prospects of playing for the Clippers, Davies might have found a great opportunity. Other than Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, no other big men are under contract at this point. Even considering the prospects of those free agents, could Davies possibly be an upgrade over Ryan Hollins, Ronny Turiaf and Lamar Odom? And if not an upgrade in talent, could he be an upgrade in value and potential? That’s up for debate, but the opportunity is there for Davies to seize the moment and grab that 10th-12th seat on the bench.
And on the off chance he doesn’t make an NBA roster, he will certainly be able to make money overseas. Former Cougar big men Trent Plaisted and Chris Miles both have found success in Europe. Considering Davies has the most talent of the three, he would most likely find success there as well.