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Ed Davis is Back and Giving a Boost to the Blazers’ Rebounding

Ed Davis has bounced back from shoulder surgery, and has become the driving force behind Portland’s impressive rebounding numbers.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers have established themselves as one of the better rebounding teams in the NBA this season, and Ed Davis’ work on the glass has been crucial to Portland’s No. 5 ranking in rebounds this season. Despite playing a reserve role, the former Tar Heel is averaging career highs in every rebounding category.

Leading The Backup Big Man Pack

After a injury-shortened 46-game season in 2016-17, Davis has recovered and established himself as a top-tier reserve center. Here is a look at his numbers compared to his peers (Editor’s Note: These stats are up to date for games through Nov. 17):

Reserve Centers

Player Games Played TRB ORB DRB Per 36 TRB
Player Games Played TRB ORB DRB Per 36 TRB
Ed Davis 14 8 3.1 4.9 15.3
Kosta Koufos 14 6.3 1.9 4.4 12
Alex Len 15 8.7 3.3 5.4 13.7
Kyle O'Quinn 14 5.9 1.8 4.1 13.2
Jakob Poeltl 14 5.1 2.4 2.7 11.9

Phoenix’s Alex Len has the slight advantage over Davis, but he also has the advantage of playing four more minutes per game.

Davis’ exploits aren’t just limited to fellow backup centers, as his offensive rebounding numbers rank with the league’s elite. According to Cleaning The Glass, Davis snags 15.5 percent of Portland’s missed field goals, putting him in the 96 percentile of players at his position.

In Action

Davis is able to establish himself on the boards by combining his relentless motor with solid positioning. By consistently beating his opponent to the paint, Davis is able to put himself in favorable situations on the offensive glass.

After slipping by opposing box-outs, Davis often finds himself in position to supplement his rebounding totals with a few points of his own.

On defense, Davis is able to corral rebounds by seamlessly transitioning through his defensive assignments. Whether it is stopping an opponent’s drive to the basket or closing out on a shooter, Davis is quick to move to the glass when his previous task is completed.

Moving Forward

Davis’ contract is set to expire after this season, so his statistical uptick couldn’t have come at a better time. Even as a relatively one-dimensional rebounder, the 28-year-old big man would be a handsome reward for a team’s mid level exception dollars.

Portland’s interest after this season will be the big question, though, as the Blazers have to decide on Jusuf Nurkic’s future with the organization. Along with Nurkic’s looming extension, rookie big men Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins are likely heirs to Davis’ minutes.

Given those factors, Davis’ future with Portland is murky at best. But, until that decision comes, he should be able to continue to keep the Blazers near the top of the league in rebounding.