Raps rookie Davis seeing progress

Toronto Raptors Ed Davis (L) talks with teammate Jose Calderon during a break in play against the...

Toronto Raptors Ed Davis (L) talks with teammate Jose Calderon during a break in play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Toronto, December 3, 2010. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:52 PM ET

DALLAS — As he approaches the end of his first month in the NBA, rookie power forward Ed Davis isn’t exactly smiling, but he is seeing progress.

Like every rookie out there, Davis would like to have broken through and have the same feeling of comfort on the court in the NBA that he had in college, which for him was at North Carolina.

Davis is confident that feeling will eventually come, but he also knows it’s still a long road there.

Having seen firsthand the difference experience makes in going up against the likes of Carlos Boozer, Lamar Odom, and most recently Zach Randolph, Davis is not intimidated by what still needs to be done.

“Not at all,” Davis said genuinely surprised by the question. “I’m just getting ready to play and when I’m called on I’m going to perform to the best of my abilities.”

Davis admits there are daily reminders from the coaching staff that he’s still a rookie, but he doesn’t actually feel like one.

“I just want to be treated like any other player,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of good rookies out there and there are a lot of good vets. I just want to be a player.”

The Raptors coaching staff hopes for nothing less, and Alex English, the guy on that staff who works most closely with Davis, will tell you even he has to remind himself that Davis is just a kid.

“He’s teachable, yes, but you forget that he’s still a kid sometimes,” English said. “He has a lot of skill, but he’s still a kid and he’s learning. You look at the players he’s going up against and they are grown me. The more you play, the more growing you do. People start giving you all kinds of tricks and you learn those tricks. They give you all kinds of numbers and you learn they’re going to give you numbers.”

Opportunity right now is at a season high for the 21-year-old freshman. With Andrea Bargnani and Reggie Evans both unable to answer the call, minutes that would normally be hard to come by are plentiful.

But with that opportunity come higher expectations and English for one feels Davis is more than capable to living up to them.

“Where I would like to see him make his leap is in his offensive production,” English said.

That’s not surprising coming from a guy who scored 25,613 points in his storied NBA career, but with Andrea Bargnani’s 21 points a night not on the trip, the Raptors coaching staff is looking for scoring anywhere it can find it.

English believes Davis has the ability to score. He just has to make the decision to shoot the ball.

“I think he has a lot more offensive skills than people realize,” English said. “What you’ve seen so far from him is a lot of put backs. He cleans up but he has a nice little mid-range jump shot but I would like to see him get the confidence to pick, roll, and step into his shot.”

English is convinced that as soon as Davis makes a few in a row, his comfort level will expand immediately.

“He believes he belongs here, but the thing that is lacking is the confidence to take that shot, because once you take that shot a couple of times and you consistently make it, then you get comfortable every game doing that and that goes for any guy shooting the ball. I think he has to get his feet wet that way.”

In the 13 NBA games Davis has played thus far, he is averaging just under five field goal attempts a game. He’s shooting about 50% but as English pointed out most of them have been put backs.

“We need him to be able to give us something offensively, especially in pick and roll offence,” English said. “You see it with Amir (Johnson ) this year. He has taken a couple and he has made them so he’s feeling confident. Eddie doesn’t have the same kind of range but he’s got solid mid-range but we haven’t seen it on the court yet.”


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