Raptors' Davis hopes to step it up
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
|Raptors' Ed Davis has struggled to land consistent minutes with the squad this season. (Reuters)
TORONTO - Ed Davis was one of Toronto’s top performers in the pre-season, averaging more than seven rebounds a game.
Taking advantage of the absences of starters Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani at times, Davis played a lot and earned the praise of head coach Dwane Casey.
But stuck in a deep rotation up front, things have changed for Davis so far in the regular season.
After not playing much in the opener, Davis turned in three decent-solid outings in a row, before finding himself buried on the bench for Toronto’s previous two losses (nine minutes of playing time, total).
Casey looked elsewhere in Dallas, even though Valanciunas was held to just 11 minutes due to foul trouble, playing little-used Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy and holding Davis to five minutes of action even though he didn’t pick up a foul.
The next night, Davis, who led the Raptors in rebounding last season, picked up a couple early and played only four minutes, largely because Philadelphia went extremely small, using the likes of Thad Young and Dorrell Wright in the middle.
Casey is hoping the Davis of old shows up soon and reasserts himself.
“I asked him the other day: ‘Has anybody seen Ed Davis?’ He played well in Minnesota, he was a big-time factor and since then I don’t know,” Casey said.
“I don’t know. He hasn’t been the same.”
When Davis is effective, Casey believes he is a key part of one of the team’s strengths — its frontcourt rotation.
Davis wants to play but is not ruffling any feathers. He knows what he has to do.
“Just playing hard and rebounding, that’s what we need is rebounding, energy off the bench and that’s what I need to do every night,” he said.
“It’s definitely tough (to find a rhythm) coming off the bench, but that’s my role on this team, that’s what I’ve got to do to play minutes. I’ve got to be ready for that.”
Davis expects to play more on Monday against Utah, one of the league’s biggest, most post-heavy teams.