Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scouting Report: Brandon Davies

At one point in time, Brandon Davies was more known for being Jimmer Fredette's teammate and his violation of BYU's honor code. Playing alongside Jimmer, Davies was an afterthought in scouts minds watching BYU games at the time, but has slowly maneuvered himself into potentially being selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. He's done so through improvement and an increased role - a role that features him as a rare playmaker and go to guy in the post. If a team is looking for the next Draymond Green in this draft, he's the closest thing to him you will find in terms of style of play. He possesses a true post game, toughness, craftiness, high IQ, good footwork, and a strong passing ability.

Since the season has ended, Davies has seen his stock increase with good showings at both Portsmouth and Chicago. He was the MVP of the event in Portsmouth. The previous two MVPs, Jimmy Butler and Kyle O'Quinn both went on to be drafted. At Chicago, he helped himself by showing more of a faceup game and measuring with legitimate power forward size.

Showing well at these events has been big for Davies because his role is certain to change in the NBA. Its unlikely that Davies will ever be featured as a go to player offensively in the post, so he will have to show that his game can transition to more of a face up threat. He will be used more in pick and roll/pop situations and showing that he can knock down the mid-range jumper consistently will be key. Neither are things that he got to do much of at BYU, although he did fare well shooting jumpers from 15 feet. Davies was even able to hit 5 of 14 college 3-pt attempts this year.

Even though he will need to play a different style in the NBA, Davies post game is far from worthless. For one, seeing him in a featured role has also forced him to become a decision maker. In that aspect, Davies has done a great job making decisions from the post.

Davies also shows plenty of patience in the post and handled the double teams he routinely saw with relative ease. He's an excellent passer from the high post and its not him just simply kicking it out to the open man. He founded cutters consistently, adjusted shots in midair to instead pass to a teammate, and developed all sorts of crafty ways to deliver the ball to teammates.

Davies ability to work hard off the ball is also evident through his post game. He constantly worked for deep position inside and sealed off his defender uses that solid base of his. He seeks out contact and is always looking to put his body on someone. His teammates did a great job rewarding him for his hard work by the way of post entry passes. Unlike most teams nowadays, Davies was able to kick the ball back out of the post, reestablish better position, and be confident that he would get the ball back. He is a natural with his back to the basket and really thrived as the focal point of an inside-outside attack.

In terms of post moves, Davies has them too. He uses his pivot foot as well as anyone and his footwork overall is excellent. He's shown off a little "dream shake", numerous up and under moves, a quick face up move off the bounce, and plenty of other moves. When it comes to having a bag of tricks to go to, Brandon Davies is your man in this draft. He definitely has an old school post game.

He does tend to be overly predictable. While he has plenty of flare, he almost always ends up going over his left shoulder. In college, players are more prone to flail at all the style and fall into Davies' trap. In the NBA, the scouting report will eventually catch up to him to the point where he will need to establish more moves going over his right shoulder. He has shown that he can hit shots with his left hand, he just needs to get more comfortable making moves towards that side of the basket.

Another one of Davies moves is a big time pump fake, one that will draw comparisons to Sam Young's back at Pitt. Once again though, it will be far less effective in the NBA due to scouting reports and smarter players. He does his pump fake with only one hand and it should be obvious that he isn't going to shoot out of that position. Its just a reaction thing, but NBA players will know to look for it and be more disciplined on not biting on it.

Still, that is just one of Davies' crafty moves and its a good example of just how creative he is. Its a big part of his game and some of it certainly will translate and help him in the NBA. With all his hesitation moves, he will be able to at least keep shotblockers at bay. Thats big for Davies because he isnt the most explosive player around the rim. With his strength and moves though, he was able to convert 76% of his shots at the rim - a very high number. Davies understands how to attack shotblockers by going right into their body. He also will do a lot of reverse finishes to use the rim to help shield his shot from getting blocked.

Davies is also able to make quick reads in the post and make some deceptively quick moves to the basket off the bounce. He's a solid ball handler from the power forward spot and while he won't blow by a lot of guys, he does know how to use one or two dribbles effectively to get him a better shot. Davies attacked the rim off of one or two dribbles a lot this year.

His transition to the NBA will actually be similar to Cody Zeller's. Davies too was asked to play around the rim and attack a lot, while showing that he struggled to finish against good athletes. They both showed passing skills, high IQs, and flashed the ability to play more of a stretch forward role when they had the chance. Davies isnt as quick as Zeller, but he is tougher and more skilled with his back to the basket.

Davies is certainly a guy that you have to watch his best games and balance them out by watching his worst games. At this best, he looks unstoppable in the post. But Davies wasn't always facing the greatest competition. When he did, you could really see his struggles finishing inside. Davies still scored plenty against top competition, but was inefficient in two games against Baylor and Gonzaga, as well as Iowa State and Notre Dame (to his credit though, Davies was still able to get to the line against these opponents, something he does very well).

He's also a guy that the more you watch him play, the more you appreciate him simply because he shows more and more creativity each game. Whenever you watch Davies, you are bound to see him bust out a new move or make a pass you usually don't see anyone else make.

Defensively, Davies struggled a lot with foul trouble. He plays the game physically on defense as well and is aggressive, but it ends up taking him out of games too much. Way too much for a star player like Davies. Davies, however, also had to deal with playing behind a very weak perimeter defense that forced BYU to switch to zone defense a lot later in the season. Watching Davies in the zone, you can see just how coordinated he is and how well he understands where to be on defense. He is not the quickest guy laterally, but his coordination will help him hang with quicker power forwards in the league. As will his strong frame and 7'2 wingspan.

He came up with a very high amount of steals for a power forward which is indicates that his athleticism may be a bit underrated. While Davies won't be a playmaker or a intimidating presence on defense, he does project as a solid positional defender as long as he keeps his fouls down.

In terms of rebounding, Davies isn't your typical second round steal at PF who puts up huge rebounding numbers. He did exceed 10 rebounds per 40 minutes each of his past three seasons however. He does a good job rebounding in his area and pulls down the ball with power. He's a guy you can trust to come down with the boards he should. He always boxes out and throws his body to his man and is a great team rebounder, who is more focused on just helping a teammate get the rebounder than simply being out to pad his own stats.

Overall, Davies will need to make a transition offensively in the NBA, but it is something he has already shown he will be able to make if his play at Portsmouth and Chicago are any indication. He seems to be a better shooter than the numbers indicate and his craftiness should translate to the pick and roll game as well. He certainly is already does a good job setting hard screens.

While Davies was a star at BYU, he has great qualities of a role player and should have no problem changing roles - just as Draymond Green did this year for the Warriors. He's unselfish, has a high IQ, plays with energy and toughness, knows how to set up his teammates, and is a high character guy by all accounts. He seems to be willing to do whatever his team needs him to do in order to win. At BYU, it was to be the focal point of the offense out of the post. In the NBA, his role will be more confined, but could be just as important to a playoff team. Right now, Brandon Davies is looking like a solid second round steal with the ability to come in and make an impact right away.


  1. Just want to thank you for all the information you put out. Great in-depth analysis. Are you thinking of putting out any scouting reports on the top Euro's entering this years draft? In particular Dennis Schroeder. Thank you

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  3. Brandon was a fan favorite at BYU because of his emotion and creative fakes. It will be fun to watch him develop as an NBA player. With 15-20 pounds, he could be a decent PF. Good luck, Brandon!