Name: Ed Davis
Season: 5th season (1st with Lakers)
Role: First big off the bench, defensive presence, pick-and-roll finisher.
The Good: Ed Davis is a player the Lakers can take a long look at and decide if he has a future in Los Angeles. The former first-round draft pick is only 25 years old. He's a very good pick-and-roll finisher, averaging 1.26 points per possession, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Jordan Hill averaged 1.06 points per possession as a pick-and-roll finisher, for comparisons sake. Davis could also prove to be the best defensive big man on the Lakers' roster and is an above-average rebounder.
Lakers season preview
Davis could be a breakout big
Ed Davis is looking to finally breakout after years of being close to making the leap as he enters his Lakers career.
Lakers season preview
The Bad: There's a reason Davis has been floating around the league for the last few seasons. Many alleged he'd be Zach Randolph's successor in Memphis, but the Grizzlies let him walk without much pause. He's limited offensively and can't be fed possessions. Davis averaged an atrocious .77 points per possession in post-ups. He also has a tendency to find his way into a coaches' dog house, according to several people I spoke with at Las Vegas Summer League. His desire to push himself at the highest level has come into question in both Toronto and Memphis.
The Could Be: Davis could be the new and improved "Jordan Hill" of the Lakers. That is to say, he could be a bargain big the Lakers tinker with for a few years who has a handful of redeemable qualities. In a perfect world he'd be even more productive and consistent than Hill, who has had numerous up's and down's in Los Angeles. Davis could be a stop-gap center while the Lakers rebuild all at the low cost of $2 million per year.
Sweet deal, Mitch.
The Hope Not: Hopefully Davis doesn't fall flat after playing for his third team in as many seasons. He's been a fringe player through most of his career, and the aforementioned question of his passion for the game could be enough to stall, or end, his development.
The Likely: Davis will likely have an average year with the Lakers. He'll probably be thrust into starting center duties because of Hill's injury issues, which could change Davis' trajectory, but projecting what that will mean is tough to do. He played well with added responsibility while Marc Gasol was out last season, notching three double-doubles in the five games he played over 25 minutes. He also scored a season-high 21 points with 12 rebounds in his most minute-heavy game of the season. Davis should be a solid big man off the bench that is a plus on defense and is used sparingly, but efficiently, on offense.
What It Means: If Davis plays well, it means Mitch Kupchak managed one of the quietest steals of free agency. The Lakers desperately need a center they can rely on, and while Davis is undersized, he can play the five. Davis can also make Hill expendable, giving the Lakers a tradable asset they wouldn't need a replacement for immediately. Options are good, and Davis should prove to be one for head coach Byron Scott, especially if he takes the responsibility of anchoring the Lakers' defense.