Brooklyn Nets: Ed Davis steals the spotlight for once

Brooklyn Nets Ed Davis (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets Ed Davis (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Brooklyn Nets backup center Ed Davis isn’t a flashy player, by any means, but he has been a very consistent one. But he exploded for a huge night Friday.

If the Brooklyn Nets didn’t make the best value signing in free agency last summer when they got center Ed Davis for the one-year, $4.45 million biannual exception, there is certainly not a long list of teams that got more bang for so few bucks.

Davis recorded his third double-double of the season, matching his season-highs with 17 points and 16 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench for the Nets Friday in their 109-99 victory over the New York Knicks.

Seven of Davis’ boards came off the offensive window — no surprise for the player who leads the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage at 14.7 and overall rebounding percentage at 22.3.

More from Nothin' But Nets

He’s slacking on the defensive glass, though, with just nine on Friday night and a defensive rebounding percentage of 30.3 that only ranks second-best in the NBA. If only every player could slack so well.

Davis was a primary factor in Brooklyn’s 23-5 edge in second-chance points against the Knicks and was 6-for-8 from the floor — with every shot in the restricted area.

He was just 5-for-11 at the foul line, an area of some struggle for Davis, who is at just 55.8 percent from the stripe in 49 games this season, as opposed to the 62.4 percent mark he has from the floor.

Entering play Friday, 81.2 percent of Davis’ shots had come in the restricted area.

In other words, he knows what he can do and does that, with no notions about extending his range. To be fair, Davis has attempted two 3-pointers this season, missing them both, doubling his career total to four attempts (the other two prior to this season were last-second heaves).

Friday marked Davis’ 19th game this season with double-digit rebounds off the bench, tied with Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers for the most in the NBA. Only Enes Kanter of the Knicks (12) and Montrezl Harrell of the LA Clippers (11) have more than 10 such games this season.

Davis’ ability to read plays and read teammates’ shots in order to be in the right place to compete for an offensive rebound is just remarkable. What’s more remarkable is how he boxes out potential defensive rebounders before they can put a body on him to do the same.

On the play below, he beats New York’s Noah Vonleh to a spot, holds his ground, gets a rebound and winds up with a pair of free throws after Vonleh fouled him in desperation.

Per 36 minutes, only Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat (17.2 rebounds) averages more rebounds than Davis’ 17.1.

Despite averaging only 18.4 minutes per game, Davis is averaging a career-high 8.7 rebounds per game this season, a full board higher than the 7.6 he averaged — in 23.3 minutes per game — for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014-15.

What Davis brings to the Nets is both tangible — rebounding, defense, effort — and intangible, as a veteran leader in the locker room and as a mentor to young Jarrett Allen, whose own rebounding efforts have been vastly improved under Davis’ tutelage this season.

Next. 10 best Nets from 1st NBA decade (1976-86). dark

Ed Davis isn’t a star. But he might be the NBA’s best backup center and is a huge reason why the Brooklyn Nets have gone from 28-win team in 2017-18 to having 27 wins through just 50 games in 2018-19.