For most of the 2016-17 NBA G League season, forward Will Davis stood as a a solid but yet forgettable part of the Reno Bighorns rotation. Prior to the All-Star break, Davis was only putting up 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds on 57% from the field in only 15 minutes per game.
Although those are definitely solid numbers, it was definitely a low point for a prospect that was selected with the 2nd round pick in that year’s NBA G League Draft. That limited playing time was largely because of the significant role that Kings rookies Skal Labissierre and Georgios Papagiannis had with the Bighorns during the first few months of the season. However, after the Kings dealt All-Star big DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans during that All-Star break, that duo had an opportunity to get a bigger role with the big league club.
The permanent promotion of those Kings rookies meant that Davis could slide up the Bighorns front-court rotation. Although it took a while for him to get that expanded role, as he didn’t even play more than 20 minutes until a March 13th matchup against Fort Wayne, Davis quickly shined once he got that opportunity.
From March 13th until the end of the season, he put up 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks on 67% from the field in 29 minutes per game. His work as a scorer actually eclipsed current two-way prospects JaKarr Sampson (18.7 points on 51% shooting), Alex Poythress (17.5 points on 53% from the field) and Jalen Jones (16.3 points on 42% from the field). Although each of those players have different offensive skill-sets, it was pretty impressive to see Davis eclipse those prospects.
Davis’ great offensive production was largely due to his role as a pick-and-roll big. As a quick 6’8 forward with soft hands and solid athleticism, he just quickly fit right at home due to playing alongside great facilitators in Kendall Marshall and David Stockton. Another great avenue that he impressed was as an offensive rebounder as he collected 3.2 offensive boards per game during that incredibly strong 10 game period.
While he definitely shined on the offensive end, the majority of the intrigue around Davis actually comes with his work as a rim protector. During the final 10 games of the season, Davis blocked 2.3 shots per game which ultimately placed him 11th in the G League. He could put up those kind of numbers due to having this rare combination of terrific athleticism and incredible work ethic. Those traits pushed him to be a dangerous help defender as he could just stop a defender in a blink of an eye.
During the upcoming season, Davis will look to recapture that late season magic as he’ll be returning to the NBA G League. Although he’s expected to return to the Reno Bighorns, there’s also a possibility that he could get traded. Due to the team likely having forwards Jack Cooley and JaKarr for most of the season, there might not be enough room within their rotation to give Davis extended playing time. That type of predicament may force the squad to deal Davis before the start of the season, as he’s definitely talented enough to get a starting spot on an NBA G League team.
No matter where he plays, Will Davis definitely stands out as a prospect that any G League fan should keep their eyes on when the season begins next month.