NBA draft profile: Michigan State PF/C Deyonta Davis


Deyonta Davis

Position: PF/C
Height: 6-11
Weight: 237
School: Michigan State
Davis is a rarity for Tom Izzo. Then again, I don't think Izzo anticipated the big man to be a "one and done" prospect when he was recruited to Michigan State. Even though he was a McDonald's All American, Davis wasn't expected to see much run with the depth in the Spartans' frontcourt.
But there the lanky big man was, averaging 18.6 minutes and playing in key moments. Davis was a big-time defensive cog for Michigan State, averaging 1.8 blocks in less than 20 minutes per game. He also shot a robust 60 percent from the field. Davis may have benefitted from another year with Izzo, but instead decided to declare for the draft after one season in East Lansing.
As mentioned, Davis flashed elite rim protection ability. His 3.9 block rate per 40 minutes is extremely impressive. What's more impressive is that these weren't all simply blocks where Davis came from the weak side and swatted an unsuspecting shooter engaged with a different defender. Davis has excellent feet and used them to force players into tough shots, many of which he rejected.
His 11.8 rebounds per 40 minutes is another impressive number. He also, at times, flashed an ability to step out and hit a mid-range jumper. He has great leaping ability and hands, making him an ideal target when he runs the floor to finish on fast breaks. Davis seems to fit the mold of what the NBA is looking for in its big men. He can protect the rim, run the floor, attack the rim and occasionally step out and hit a shot.
I didn't see a high motor from Davis. He looks sort of lackadaisical at times. He has the ability to hang with ballhandlers and cutters because of his quick feet, but he can lose focus and allow easy baskets or commit bad fouls. He's going to need to add weight to bang with the bigger NBA bodies inside and not just rely on his length and athleticism to get rebounds.
The offensive game shows flashes, but it still has a long way to go. His form is decent and he hit some shots, but when he's pressured and has to rush his shots, the results are not pretty. Doesn't really have much in the arsenal as far as post moves. Constantly tries to finish with the right hook shot in the paint.
How he'd fit with the Sixers
Well, if they trade Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor he'd be a great fit patrolling the paint while Joel Embiid (maybe), Dario Saric (possibly) and Ben Simmons (probably) do their thing at the four. Of course, the Sixers would have to acquire another first-round pick in one of those deals for Davis to be an option.
NBA comparison
I'll go with Myles Turner, the 11th overall pick by the Pacers in last year's draft. Turner and Davis are the new age of NBA big men. Turner's mid-range game was/is much further along, but Davis can develop into a similar player. The team drafting Davis will need to exercise patience while he gets coached up, unlike Turner who paid immediate dividends for Indiana.
Draft projection
Davis is a fringe lottery pick. He'd make a ton of sense for the Suns at 13.

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