Raptors Add Size On Draft Night In Davis, Alabi

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June 24, 2010

Mike Ulmer -- raptors.com

Bryan Colangelo isn’t pulling any punches when he talks about the Toronto Raptors.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m confident Chris Bosh is coming back,” said the Raptors’ GM.

“That’s why the addition of Ed Davis looks like a great piece.”

The Raptors also added a second piece, trading with the Dallas Mavericks for Florida State centre Solomon Alabi.

Davis, a six-10, 225-pound lefthanded power forward, arrives after two years at the University of North Carolina as the Raptors’ first pick, 13th overall.

It was a shock, for Raptors fans, the club and Davis himself.

“I was sort of surprised. I worked out for teams from seven to 10,” he said.

The drafting of Davis was not the only acquisition. The Raps were waiting for the legalities to clear before announcing a second player they had acquired.

Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Davis averaged 13.4 points and just fewer than 10 rebounds a game last season. His season was ended in February when he broke his left shooting wrist against Duke.

The wrist, said Raptors coach Jay Triano, was probably one of the reasons why Davis, who figured to go between seven and 10,” slid the three additional spots.

“I think the injured hand might have held him back. Everyone expected him to go higher so he didn’t work out for a lot of teams.”

One of those teams was the Raptors who assumed he would be gone by 13.

“I had him in the nine range,” said Colangelo.

Suspicious of Davis’ falling stock, the Raptors worked the phones right up to the pick. “We talked to (North Carolina coach) Roy Williams and he gave him rave reviews,” said Triano.

Davis, the son of 10-year NBAer Terry Davis, is considered a pure rebounder who can find the ball underneath both baskets. He was an accomplished shot blocker in college the fastest Tar Heel to block 100 shots (51 games) behind Rasheed Wallace and Sam Perkins.

The upside must come in offence, but the Raptors were desperately seeking more rebounding and defence. While the Raptors have insisted they would draft the best player, regardless of position, the possibility of losing franchise player Chris Bosh, a player Davis considers his favorite NBAer, likely played into the selection.

“If you look at our free agents, Chris Bosh, Patrick O’ Bryant, Rasho Nesterovic and Amir Johnson,”said Triano, “the fact that he’s a big is great. He’s a big body, he’s athletic and he fits trend the NBA is going toward.”

Davis said he didn’t care about the draft order. “It doesn’t matter. It’s a good situation for me.”

No argument there. The Raptors are desperate for rebounding and toughness. Davis, the son of a hardworking NBAer who fought for every minute of floor time, brings exactly what the club needs.

“Rebounding, block shots, being able to defend, those things always translate well,” Davis said.

What happens this offseason, of course, depends on how much work Davis will get this season.

“There’s a chance he comes in and plays right away,” Colangelo said. “What he achieves will be dependent on what our team needs after any free agent signings or trades. We get a very good basketball player who gives us what we need, a shot blocker, a player who can protect the rim, a rebounder. Ed Davis gets all those things done.”

In Alabi, the Raptors acquire another long defensive oriented player who could mature into a solid defender.

The Raptors saw centre Cole Aldrich go 11th to the New Orleans Hornets. Another player the Raptors worked out, Xavier Henry, went 12th to the Memphis Grizzlies. Another player who worked out here, Patrick Patterson, went to the Houston Rocket at 14.


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