Dwane Casey hasn’t been consistently satisfied with what he’s seen from Ed Davis over the course of this of his first season coaching the Raptors, but he likes what he’s seen of late.
“He’s made a lot of progress as a matter of fact,” said Casey prior to the Raptors 93-75 loss to the Sixers at ACC. “The last two or three weeks to the last month, there’s some pep in his step.”
That continued on Wednesday, as the second-year forward powered his way to his finest performance of the season, with team-highs in rebounds (13, five offensive), assists (five, also a career-high) and matching Alan Anderson with 13 points.
With health placing the Raptors on the wrong side of a battle of attrition of late, Davis has been one of the lone roster mainstays that’s upped his game into the final month of this four-month grind.
Both Casey and Davis cited extra work with assistant coach Johnny Davis (no relation) as a big reason for the change.
“Just a little bit of everything,” Davis said of his work with his coach. “Post moves, rebounding and timing. Just working on everything and we’re really going to get more into it this summer. It’s really starting now.”
This summer should prove to be a crucial one for Davis as an NBA pro as he continues to refine his post moves, jumper and a free throw stroke that’s expected to be completely reconstructed.
But following offseasons that included a knee injury and then a lockout, this one could prove most important largely because it should be his first with some degree of normalcy.
“He’s got to go into the summer as soon as the season’s over with and not take a month off, our guys aren’t 10-to-12 year vets where they need a month off to rest their bodies. He needs to maybe take a few days off,recharge and then get right back into the gym.”
Until then, Davis has seven more games to continue to turn heads.
As good as Davis was on Wednesday, injuries have become a big story.
One full week after Jose Calderon took an elbow to the right eye area courtesy of the Elton Brand, Sixers guard Jrue Holiday sent him to the locker room for more stitches after a drive to the basket.
Factor in that Linas Kleiza didn’t play in the second half due to a sore knee, Amir Johnson reportedly played over 25 minutes while battling a bad back plus the continued absence of Andrea Bargnani (left calf) and the Raptors are limping towards the finish line.
“We’re running out of guys,” said Casey post-game. “Jose goes down, LK goes down, Amir’s battling a bad back, but again, it’s the NBA and we’ve got to play with who we’ve got out there. I thought our guys battled as long as we could until we just were decimated.”
Expect updates on some of these injured players following Thursday’s practice.