School: Michigan State (Freshman)
Position: Power Forward/Center
Per Game Stats
Per 100 Possessions Stats
- Height: 6'9.25" without shoes, 6'10.5" in shoes
- Weight: 237 pounds (9.7 percent body fat)
- Wingspan: 7'2.5"
- Standing Reach: 9'0.5"
- Athletic Testing: Did not participate
While a highly-regarded recruit coming out of high school, Davis was not expected to be a one-and-done player in East Lansing. Davis flashed his significant talent level throughout the season, but even so he only averaged just under 19 minutes per game as part of a deep frontcourt rotation for the Spartans. However, Davis decided to enter the Draft and his physical profile will get him taken in the first round despite averaging just 7.5 points per game.
Davis' biggest strength as a prospect is his tremendous physical tools. At just over 6-feet-10 in shoes with a 7-foot-2.5 wingspan, he has the height and length to play either frontcourt spot. He weighed in at 237 pounds at the combine with a 9.7 percent body fat rate, and at just 19 years old, his frame should fill out even more and some of that fat should turn into muscle once he gets into a NBA training program. He is a very fluid athlete who runs the floor well and elevates easily around the basket. Davis just looks like what a NBA big man should look like.
Davis has the length and mobility to be a difference-maker on the defensive end. He moves his feet well enough to stay in front of most big men, and can even survive when switched onto opposing guards. One of Davis' greatest strengths is his ability to protect the rim. He sported a 10.2 block percentage at Michigan State and affected far more shots than he actually got a piece of. Davis has long arms and does an excellent job of keeping them high, timing the shot and swatting it after the release. Even more impressively, he excelled at blocking shots in one-on-one situation rather than always coming over from the weak side, and contests jumpshots well.
Davis is a strong rebounder, especially on the offensive end where he sported a 13.5 percent offensive rebound rate. Davis does a great job of using his length and athleticism to attack the ball in the air and pull down contested rebounds. He will both box out when he has position and go after rebounds outside of his area.
Offensively, Davis is efficient if nothing else. He is capable of beating his defender down the court for easy layups on a consistent basis with his long strides, is a great target for alley-oops and dump-offs and attacks the offensive glass for tip-ins/tip-slams. Davis doesn't have an advanced skill-set in the post, but he does have a soft touch with a right-handed hook over his left shoulder and a right-handed push-shot over his right shoulder. He scored 0.98 points per possession on 84 possession in the post. His jumpshot form looks promising, but he shot just 5-of-13 on jumpers with the Spartans.
Davis' physical tools are elite, but his feel for the game isn't, and that's what makes him difficult to project.
Defensively, Davis can be so good at times, but he also gets lost more often than you would like to see. As good of a shot-blocker as he can be, he can fall asleep on the weak side and fails to rotate over in time. He also often struggles defending screens as he gets caught between hedging and hugging his own man, which ends up putting him in no man's land too often.
It's an even bigger obstacle offensively, where he is incredibly limited. For Michigan State, his role was basically to set screens or hang out around the baseline, with an occasional post-up opportunity. He rarely stepped out onto the floor and didn't show much in the way of face-up or playmaking ability away from the basket.
Davis is sometimes not ready for the ball when his teammates look for him, and he occasionally shows indecision when he does catch it. His post game is very rudimentary as it consists of basically just the two go-to moves listed in the strengths section above. His jumper doesn't look bad, but he barely cracked 60 percent from the foul line, which puts a bit of a damper on the optimism around his shot.
Davis' high mark was just 16 points, and he hit double digits in just 12 of his 35 games. Half of his double-digit scoring games came in Michigan State's 13 nonconference games. He only reached that mark five times in 21 total Big Ten games. Michigan's multiple options in the frontcourt played a part in his lack of offensive production, but there's also a reason Michigan State didn't look to play through him very often when he was out there. He also only played more than 25 minutes three times, so stamina and avoiding fouls could be a question as well.
If Davis struggles to progress in his understanding of the game and if his offense fails to develop much further, I think Davis' tools will still allow him to become a valuable role player in an Ed Davis type of mold - a guy who crashes the glass, plays hard, defends the rim a bit and dunks whenever he gets the chance. However, if he does figure out the game, I could see him as almost a mini-Hassan Whiteside with better mobility - a guy who grabs a ton of rebounds, throws down a few alley-oops per game and blocks shots like crazy. Either way, I think he needs to go to a team with a great development staff with a big man coach that can help him maximize his potential.
Fit in Phoenix
I like Deyonta Davis and think he can provide a lot of things that the Suns could use, and he's certainly worth a look with the 13th pick. However, I'm not sure he's a great fit with the other players in the team's core. I see a lot of overlap with how Alex Len should be used offensively, and I got my fill of watching two big men that don't complement each other last year with Earl Watson's twin towers starting lineup. If Phoenix manages to move Tyson Chandler to another team, I wouldn't be opposed to drafting Davis to use as Len's backup who occasionally played next to him early in his career. If either one develops beyond what they are now offensively, then Davis could side in at power forward down the road (assuming the Suns don't get their starting power forward with their first pick).