Liberty Ballers likes to make jokes involving Brandon Davies.
The circuitous path through out-of-wedlock collegiate relations notwithstanding, Davies went from undrafted rookie out of BYU, a long-shot camp invite with the LA Clippers, to a rotation assignment with the Sixers almost immediately upon joining the team. He came aboard late in training camp - heck, camp may have even been over - and he looked lost the entire season. We attributed it to him being bad, with bad being a generous description of his overall season. Ballads were written to honor his lack of basketball ability, which included this tremendous GIF:
That GIF, that glorious GIF, as if you were saying the words "glorious" and "GIF" with hard g's, was vintage Davies. Always trying hard, but always uncoordinated, like wearing roller blades on two left feet while walking on ice - this was the Brandon Davies experience.
This continued through to summer league, where he was outplayed by every other Sixers big on a daily basis. Like, Drew Gordon even looked good compared to him!
We make jokes about Davies both because of his deviancy and his incompetence. I mean, LOOK AT THAT GIF! It took like 4 months for him to connect on a single alley-oop during the season! It was a lower percentage shot than a Tony Wroten three! He made dunking look hard!
But his numbers this preseason (11 PPG through 3 games on 58% shooting) caught my eye because, hey that actually looks good! Where did this new and improved Brandon Davies come from? What black magic is this?
First, I suggest you temper any expectations related to Davies, because again he really really really stunk last season. Second, Davies truly brings a couple of skills to the table. With the size of a legitimate power forward at just under 6'10" and a 7'2" wingspan, Davies also plays with seemingly constant energy. As one of our regular commenters likes to point out, Davies was the best defensive big the Sixers had last season.
Spencer Hawes started half of last season mind you, but that's a point in Brandon's favor. Davies caused turnovers through steals and taking charges more often than most power forwards do. On a team that will rely on its athleticism defensively, Brandon can hang. He won't have the block ranges of Nerlens Noel and K.J. McDaniels, but virtually nobody does.
He also has a workable jumper. His jump shot form looks alright, but his release point is inconsistent. You could see it when he took foul shots specifically, and when Davies missed, he missed bad. This is a trend going back to his college days, when he was considered a potential second rounder. From Draft Express's Kyle Nelson:
his mechanics actually look decent when he has the time to set his feet and the space to get his shot off unguarded. More often, though, he tends shoots the ball after the peak of his jump, on the way down, and with a hitch, resulting in a tendency to overshoot the ball. Improving the fluidity of his shooting mechanics, in particular, would greatly elevate his stock among scouts as big men who can stretch the floor are coveted at the next level.
The last sentence there, it's the key here. Davies made a three in each of his last two preseason games, equaling the total made threes he had last year. Coming out of college, Davies was an offensive prospect. For one, think about last season and how unbelievable that seems. Laugh to yourself, then find another Sixers fan friend and laugh with them.
Even given the unlikelihood of everything coming together, with his a hot mess of energy and incompetence, you can see something of a package there. A potential stretch 4 with size and enough defense to get by is valuable. The numbers at least suggest we pay attention.
And even if he never gets there, well we still have the sex jokes. Either way, it works out. Here's to another year of Davies!