In The Scrum With Jim Kelly – Part 2

Toronto Raptors Senior Director of Scouting Jim Kelly was busy on Tuesday. After the team hosted an early workout featuring Kemba Walker, Kentucky’s Brandon Knight took to the practice court for his own workout. In speaking to the media afterward, Kelly compared the two young point guards.

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Ed Davis Slides To Toronto

The NBA Draft unfolded as expected until Utah selected Gordan Hayward with the ninth pick and then things got a little crazy. The pick immediately after this saw Indiana select Paul George while Cole Aldrich also went higher than expected when he was drafted eleventh overall.

This resulted in a player Toronto didn’t think would be available, Ed Davis, sliding down to them at the 13th spot.

The fact Davis fell this far was such a surprise that Toronto didn’t even bring him in for a workout this month as they were sure he would be gone by the 10th pick.

“We were surprised because we didn’t have him on our list of five players we were targeting because we really didn’t think he would available at thirteen,” Jay Triano admitted to the media shortly after the selection was made. “We thought he would be long gone. To have him keep sliding we kept crossing our fingers that he would slide one more. He fell right into our lap which was great.”

Triano felt there were a couple of reasons for the free fall in Davis’ in the draft tonight but he wasn’t worried about any of those potential issues.

“I think maybe his injured hand held him back a bit, but I think more than that everybody thought he would go higher than that so he didn’t work out for certain teams below a certain number,” Jay Triano told the media Thursday evening. “When he doesn’t work out for certain teams they don’t get a feel and he slides. But you guys have seen part of the workouts. What do they really show you? It’s the scouts who watch games all year and evaluate these guys.”

Even though Bryan Colangelo was surprised to see Davis still available he was ready for something like this happening and jumped at the opportunity to draft the talented big man.

“Ed (Davis) was rated a lot higher not only in our minds but in all of the research we had done but there was a scenario we talked about anybody above a certain line, if they dropped to us, we’re taking them,” Colangelo told the media. “Ed was that name. We had a few more names up on our board in the group that we liked but if you stay true to the process and you weed out the names you would clearly take if they came to you then you go ahead and take them.”

Luckily for Toronto, it appears a team ahead of them got cold feet which resulted in a couple of teams passing on Davis.

“There was a lot of interest at a particular pick everyone assumed would be where he landed but perhaps a little bit of a shift up near the top of the draft led that team to make a different decision,” said Colangelo.

Regardless of the reason, Davis managed to slide to Toronto and they were able to select a player that should be able to anchor their defense the next few seasons.

Davis is the third fastest player at the University of North Carolina to swat 100 shots and he accomplished the feet after 51 games while it took Rasheed Wallace 47 games and Sam Perkins 50 games to accomplish the same feat.

Pretty impressive company, if you ask me.

Davis, however, is far from a one trick pony. Last season his season ended prematurely with a broken lunate bone in his left wrist on February 10, 2010, but at that point in time he was leading the ACC in field goal percentage (.578) and blocked shots, was second in rebounding and 15th in scoring. Clearly he’s a guy you can throw on the court that will get “garbage points” without needing plays run for him while also providing the defensive presence the team was searching for. He’ll be able to grab some rebounds, change a ton of shots and he has the athleticism to allow the team to continue to get out and run on the break.

With Chris Bosh likely heading out of town as a free agent and the team looking to move Andrea Bargnani to power forward, that resume makes Davis an ideal pick for Toronto.

“We did a lot of background checks,” Triano explained. “We called Roy Williams one or two picks before and he had nothing but rave reviews. Our scouts were talking to other people. Teams get penciled into certain need or a certain player and sometimes guys slide. When we have a need for rebounding or defense and when he’s efficient with how he shoots the ball it’s a perfect fit for us.”

Even thought thirteen has long been know as an unlucky number, it appears Toronto had a lot of luck on their side tonight.

Bryan Colangelo Talks About Ed Davis

Bryan Colangelo just escaped from Toronto’s war room for a couple minutes to talk with the media about Ed Davis sliding to Toronto, if they had second thoughts when he slide, a trade that will be announced later tonight and a  host of other topics that Raptors’ fans want to hear about.

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Getting To Know Ed Davis

Back in the summer of 2007, I was getting ready to start my first post college job, a job at the University of Connecticut, where I’d just finished my undergraduate work a few months before. I worked in the athletic department, as an entry level guy in the ticket and marketing department.

When I started the job in late May, I quickly realized the whole situation was both a gift and a curse. On the one hand, having worked in the department as an undergrad, I knew many of my new co-workers, and had a pretty good understanding of what my responsibilities would be, even before my first day. How many people can say that as they get ready to start a new job? I didn’t even have to move apartments, at least not right away.

On the other hand, I was an adult now, living near a college campus, my old stomping ground. Just a few months before, my only care in the world was trying to figure out which bar had the best deal on Thursday night’s, and now I was a professional in the same place where many of my good friends were still students. Suffice to say, some were even on the Tommy Boy six-year plan.

I distinctly remember the conflict of interest coming to light one night in June, when my old neighbor invited me over to watch the first game of the NBA Finals. She was friendly with a few players on the basketball team- a group of guys I’d be working closely with once the season started- and I wasn’t entirely comfortable hanging out with them in a social setting. She wasn’t sure if they’d come over or not, so I decided to swing by.

Of course right on cue, within a minute or two of me getting there, a player showed up with someone- who was clearly a basketball player- that I wasn’t particularly familiar with. Turns out, it was one of the most sought after high school senior’s to be in the country, Ed Davis.

At 17, Davis didn’t carry himself like a McDonalds All-American, but more like a little brother tagging with his big bro to watch the game. He sat quietly in the corner, intently following the action on the screen, seeming to enjoy LeBron James’ first NBA Finals game. Then again, you didn’t really know if he was enjoying himself or not, since he didn’t say anything. Davis only spoke when spoken to, but when we did finally sneak a few words out of him, it turned out he was not only insightful, but you could tell how passionate about the game he was.

What I’ll always remember about that night though, is that after not saying a word to me the entire evening, when I got up to leave, Davis was quick to say goodbye, and tell me how nice it was to meet me. This to someone he’d met only hours before. I couldn’t help but appreciate the poise of a 17-year-old to say that to his senior. I don’t know if I’d have done the same at his age.

I hadn’t thought much about that day with Davis these past few years, as he went to North Carolina and won a National Championship as a key role player his freshman year. The only time he crossed my mind was when I wondered if maybe he was the missing piece that could have propelled UConn to the title in 2009, instead of playing the same role as a Tar Heel.

But for the first time in a long time on Thursday, I did think back to that night in June 2007, as I watched that quiet kid I met in June 2007, become a man on a June night in 2010. He walked to podium with poise to shake David Stern’s hand, and answered Mark Jones’ questions insightfully.

I don’t know what Davis’ NBA future holds for him, but I do know one thing: He was a good kid at 17, and it seems like only maturity has changed him now.

The Raptors got a good basketball player in the 2010 NBA Draft. They got a good person, too.

Jay Triano Talks About Ed Davis

Jay Triano just escaped from Toronto’s war room for a couple minutes to talk with the media about Ed Davis sliding to Toronto, why Toronto called Roy Williams tonight before they made the pick, how close they were to drafting Patrick Patterson, the high amount of trades the team could have made over the past 48 hours, what the summer will entail for Davis and a  host of other topics that Raptors’ fans want to hear about.

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