TORONTO - Dwane Casey gave Ed Davis some tough love this season.
At times early on, when the head coach didn’t like the effort or results Davis was putting out, the sophomore forward sat and/or got an earful.
But it didn’t bother Davis because he knew why Casey was keying on his lapses.
“It’s never been like he’s tough on me just trying to be an a--hole or nothing,” Davis said at his season-closing media session on Thursday morning.
“It’s always been he wants me to get better and he expects big things out of me so I always look him in the eye and say, ‘Yes sir.’ He just wants the best out of me.”
There is much for Davis to work on. For the most part, his numbers took a step back in his second season (7.7 points per game to 6.0, 7.1 rebounds to 6.6, 57.6% from the field to 50.6% in about 1.5 fewer minutes per night).
On the plus side, Davis was a better shot-blocker, free throw shooter and improved on the defensive boards. He was the only Raptor to play in all 66 games after missing 17 contests as a rookie.
Davis put on some weight prior to this season, which likely helped keep him healthy, but he knows he needs to gain quite a bit more.
“I do need to get stronger, so I’m going to be in the weight room all summer,” he said, before joking that people are always on him for his slight frame.
“Honestly, I think they’re going to say that the rest of my career, no matter if I get to 300 pounds. They’ve been saying that my whole career.”
Davis knows he’ll never be the size of Jamaal Magloire, but said Magloire’s demeanour and guidance helped him quite a bit.
“He helped me a lot. Say if a coach gets on me he’ll be the one to say, ‘It’s all right, let’s go.’ The next play he’ll be like, ‘Good job.’ Just little things like that,” Davis explained.
Davis is looking forward to being the focal point of Toronto’s Summer League squad — the first time he’s been the main man since high school — and to continue reworking his offensive game, starting with his jump shot.
Davis suffered a serious wrist injury while at North Carolina, which cost him several months, and he says his jump shot has not been the same since.
“I’m going to work on my jump shot a lot this summer, starting on Monday I’m right back at it. Just going to work on my jump shot so I can be an automatic guy from the free throw line and in,” he said.
“It’s still some minor adjustments that we’re going to make this summer. I’m going to try to get it back to how it was in high school, how it felt. It’s just going to take some time.”
A good finisher at or above the rim, if Davis can also start nailing jumpers consistently, he’ll be a far more effective player for the Raptors.
He knows observers see duplication between he and Amir Johnson and many believe one of the two will have to be moved this off-season, but Davis doesn’t agree.
“I think we have a different game. We have (similarities) like we’re both 6-9, 6-10, athletic. I think he runs the floor better than I do, I think I do stuff better than him. We complement each other well. When we’re on the court, it’s not like it doesn’t mix,” Davis said.
Time will tell, but with Jonas Valanciunas coming over next season, the frontcourt is getting awfully crowded, so it’s hard to see both Davis and Johnson sticking around.