PROJECTED DRAFT RANGE: Draft experts peg Deyonta Davis as a late lottery selection due to his athleticism and upside. He ranks No. 11 overall and fifth among power forwards on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board. He’s currently No. 13 on Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects list. Ben Simmons, Dragan Bender, Henry Ellenson and Skal Labissiere are the other players listed as power forwards for either their primary or secondary positions that Givony rates ahead of Davis. In a league where smaller lineups have become fashionable, Davis could also find himself playing center quite a bit.
RISE/FALL: Davis could slide down some draft boards if the concerns over his lack of offensive polish grow. He’s got to show in predraft camps and workouts that he has the tools to become a reliable low-post scorer. He’s also got to prove that he can make defenses pay if they give him some space in midrange areas and at the elbow. It’s tough for most lottery teams to sell their fans on a player with a limited offensive repertoire. If Davis makes a good impression on the offensive end, he could convince a team in the top 10 that he’s worth the gamble. His length and athleticism aren’t going anywhere, and it will be easy for scouts and coaches to fall in love with his ability to impact a game defensively while he develops his raw offensive moves.
FIT: The Raptors, who will receive a first-rounder from either the Knicks or Nuggets, could solidify their interior defense with a shotblocker like Davis. It’s unlikely that the Kings, who drafted a similar player last year in Willie Cauley-Stein, would be interested in Davis, but he could be a nice fit for the Bucks as an alternative to the defensively challenged Greg Monroe. Magic coach Scott Skiles would welcome any defensive help he could get, while the Bulls could snare Davis to replace free agent Joakim Noah. The Suns and Celtics could also find a role suited to Davis’ gifts, and Davis might even wind up with the Nuggets if they decide to restructure their frontcourt. Should Davis tumble out of the lottery, he would make sense for an aging team like the Grizzlies, who need a jolt of youth and athleticism at power forward.
FINAL TAKE: The team that drafts Davis must exercise patience. He could carve out a rotation role as a defensive specialist in the right situation. More likely, he’ll spend a good portion of his rookie year refining his skills on a D-League roster. The payoff could be substantial if Davis eventually turns into a low-post monster.
(For Part One of our Deyonta Davis Prospect Profile, click here.)