Ed Davis: A Bright Spot on a Dreary Los Angeles Lakers Roster

Josh Haar@@Jhaar312Contributor IIINovember 13, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Ed Davis #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a dunk against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 31, 2014 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have proved to be nothing but putrid through the initial eight games of the 2014-15 season. Their offense looks bad, their defense is atrocious and inconsistency plagues them on a nightly basis.

Mix this in with debilitating injuries to Steve Nash, Julius Randle and Nick Young, among others, and it's no wonder the Lakers are 1-7.

However, amid all the losing, injuries and purely awful basketball, one unignorable positive remains. He exists in the form of Ed Davis, and he serves as a bright spot on a dreary Los Angeles roster.

Davis has shown consistency on a team defined by the opposite as well as defensive superiority on a squad lacking it.

Davis positions himself to box out Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard while battling for a rebound.
Davis positions himself to box out Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard while battling for a rebound.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Coming off the bench behind either Carlos Boozer or Jordan Hill, the big man is not expected to do much: protect the rim, grab rebounds and score inside when given the chance.

This may seem like a slight role, but it is one Davis embraces and fills exceptionally.

Thus far, the power forward/center has produced outstanding averages of 9.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and a field-goal percentage of 68.8 percent in just under 24 minutes per game. 

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He is first on the Lakers in blocks and field-goal percentage, second in rebounds and fifth in scoring. In addition, he boasts a superb player efficiency rating of 21.4, good for first on the team as well. 

Need a new offensive possession? Davis will position himself accordingly to strongly secure an offensive board. Looking for a stop on defense? He will utilize his lengthy 7'0" wingspan to either alter or completely reject an attempt near the rim.

Not bad for a player Los Angeles inked on a bargain.

Davis not only accomplishes what is expected of him, but he does it effectively and efficiently almost every night he steps on the floor.

His game log proves just as much (via ESPN.com):

11/12NOPL 102-10927.50011028
11/11MEML 102-10727.7505136
11/9CHAW 107-92221.00050110
11/4PHXL 106-11218.3339034


L 104-12721.71462013
10/31LACL 111-11820.83360010
10/29PHXL 99-11933.60093214
10/28HOUL 90-10822.71460211

On a Los Angeles roster consisting of Kobe Bryant hoisting 24.5 shots per contest on 38.8 percent shooting, Carlos Boozer inefficiently shooting mid-range jumpers like it's his passion and Wesley Johnson serving as a crapshoot with each passing game, Davis provides necessary consistency off the bench.

Furthermore, the 25-year-old is a reliable interior defender—which is worth celebrating since the Lakers' team defense is absolutely terrible. 

Los Angeles is currently dead last in points allowed per game (111.5) and defensive rating (117.4), among other stats.

However, the difference between when Davis is on the floor versus off it is telling, to say the least.

Davis blocks a layup attempt by Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris.
Davis blocks a layup attempt by Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

When the big man is on, the Lakers allow 108.2 points and put forth a defensive rating of 111.4. When he's off, though, the squad produces the same defensive rating as its team average and allows a whopping 114.7 points to opponents.

Clearly, Davis brings a positive impact on this end of the court.

A big reason for this is because he uses his athleticism and length to his advantage. Another is mental, as the lefty center prides himself on hustling and playing hard-nosed defense.

"I just play hard every time out there, whether it be 10 minutes or 20 minutes out there. I bring the energy on defense and hustle," Davis told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News back on October 23. "I think the coaching staff knows what I can do, bring to the table and help the team."

Davis understands his job defensively, and he thrives when it comes to performing it. On a team that is struggling in virtually every single defensive category, a player who can get stops and significantly improve the defense as a whole is refreshing to watch.

Ed Davis is not a star, and although he boasts potential, he may never be one.

What he isn't, however, shouldn't obscure what he currently is.

Davis is consistency and defense on a team lacking both. He's a phenomenal pickup for the price the Lakers are paying.

And, if his solid play continues and Los Angeles is smart, he's an asset who can serve a valuable role in the franchise's future.

It's still early in the season, but Davis is proving his true worth. At the very least, he is a bright spot on a dreary Lakers roster.

(Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com)

Josh Haar is an NBA contributor for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JHaarNBA.


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