One of the things I took away from Raptors Media Day is how Ed Davis has changed and is much more comfortable. It is not that he was a bad guy or anything like that. He was a bit of a quiet guy and never said a lot. When he did it was not always saying the right thing.
The best example of that is during last season, he said the line something to the effect of every time you go out there you are auditioning for 29 other teams. This is not untrue, but timing is everything in this life. Saying that in a season in which you are struggling may not have been the best timing for such a statement.
I was standing around at Media Day waiting to see who was going to be the next interview in the main area for the media. Then along came Ed Davis and he approached me and shook my hand and asked me how I was doing. We chatted for just a couple minutes, not really about basketball or for an interview for the blog. It was just shooting the breeze kind of stuff.
That is the first time I can recall Ed doing anything like that. In the past I would get a wave or a hello. It was a small thing but a nice thing. If it was just me who had this impression of a change in personality, I would likely not mention it in the blog. It wasn’t though. Eric Smith is around this team and Ed on a much more regular basis than me, and he made note of this change in attitude when he interviewed Ed at Media Day.
Can Ed have a bounce back season? You can’t really answer that question just yet. What you can say is he is making an effort to change his approach on and off the floor. On the floor Davis has put in a lot of hard work to rebuild his shot. That is no easy feat to change how you have done something your entire life in order to improve yourself. It also shows a lot of faith on Ed’s part in the Raptors’ coaching staff.
The new and improved jump shot is going well according to Davis. “It was tough at first but it is natural now. I got a lot of shots up working with J.T.” I mentioned about how his statement about auditioning for 29 other teams might not have been the greatest answer in the world. How does the new and improved Ed Davis answer a question on the tremendous amount of competition at his position this year? “They (the coaches) pretty much know what everyone can do. It is just who is going work the hardest, who is going be the last one in the gym. Little things like that. Just showing that my game is growing and I understand the defense more and just growing as a leader.” Davis said. If you were to act as a media consultant for Ed, you could not constructed a much better answer to that question.
Also it never hurts to have a sense of humour about yourself. That was evident when he was asked, what fans would noticed had changed about his game? When they get a chance to see play this year. “Obviously my jumpshot, It looks better, it feels better it goes in more.” Davis said. Going in more is always a good thing and that answer was able to make many folks chuckle.
There is always this rush on behave of everyone to see results and to quickly write people off in this modern sports world. We lose the reality that not just Davis but many of these guys are young men. The average person in their situation would like make just as many mistakes if not more.
In writing this it made me reflect on my own experience and how nervous I first was when I started covering this team. You are always worried you may say something wrong. You might make someone angry with you. There is a realization that you need to come to that you truly deserve to be where you’re at. It takes time to feel that comfort level.
Ed Davis may still think I am sleeping on him as he stated on twitter back in the spring. I don’t think that I ever was and I have honestly always liked him. What has happened recently though is I have been able to make some kind of personal connection to him. Understand things a bit better about who he is and how we share some things in common.
One of the hardest things to do even in this age of social media for pro athletes to do is make those connections with people. It is very easy to say this guy makes a ton of money and I have nothing in common with him. He should just go out there and get it done. There will always be people that no matter what you do will always just be harsh critics and it doesn’t matter what you do or say. Most people though are not like that. People want a reason to root for someone. If they can make that connection with someone they are far more likely to give that person some room to grow and improve.
It is a big year for Ed Davis and you hope that this new more out going personality and belief in himself and his franchise will translate into a better Davis on the floor this season. He is off to a good start it would seem in his approach to the stuff away from the basketball court.