Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Ricky By the Numbers

After one very good season at Iowa, Ricky Davis was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets (remember them?) late in the first round in 1998. Blessed with raw athletic talent and an offensive flare, Ricky quickly developed a deserved “me first” reputation, basically causing him to be jettisoned from three teams in four years. His arrogance and showboating turned off many fans, culminating in an ill conceived triple-double incident that, hopefully, he can someday make us forget.

On the other hand, unlike many young guns who leave school too early, Ricky never had serious off the court problems. To my knowledge, he’s never killed his chauffer, he’s never run dogfights, he’s never been pulled over with a joint in his mouth, and most of his sexual encounters seem to be consensual.

Ricky’s problems have never been his numbers, but let’s look at them anyway.

Ricky didn’t really get regular minutes until the 01-02 season, his first with Cleveland. This was a pretty bad NBA team, 29 wins, whose scoring leader was Lamond Murray (16.6) and whose leading rebounder was Jurmaine Jones (6.1). Ricky came off the bench and played well. In little more than 23 minutes a game, he shot over 48% and averaged 11.7 points a game.

An even worse Cleveland team, 17 wins, was fielded the next season, when Ricky became a regular starter as well as the focus of the offence. While averaging over 20 points per game, and with very respectable assist/board numbers, Ricky’s shot selection and subsequent field goal percentage suffered (41%). Ricky logged nearly 40 minutes a game during the 02-03 season, and turned the ball over 3.5 times a game. Interestingly enough, Ricky’s numbers that season almost look like Pierce’s this season. In his 22 games with Cleveland last year, all starts, Davis’s production slipped a bit, and he was shipped to Boston.

Boston did Ricky a favor by returning him to the bench last year. His field goal percentage rose again to 49%, 38% from three, as he averaged over 14 a game. His assist/rebounding totals took a big hit, as his minutes decreased almost 10 a game from the year prior, but his TO number dropped too.

After starting the first 7 C’s games this year, Davis was again returned to the bench – where he has thrived. In 32 minutes, Ricky has been a scoring machine whose job it is to provide energy and leadership to the second team. His 15 point per ranks second in the league for 6th men, and his field goal percentage is a very respectable 46%, 37% from three.

The numbers seem to confirm what most of us already know – Ricky Davis is much better coming off the bench. He may not be on the court to start, but he’s there at the end, which seems to suit him fine. Ricky has been an absolute delight this year, playing a style of play that complements his athletic skills and playing with teammates who seem to trust him. Ricky will never be a star in this league, and any attempt to make him a star may backfire. But Ricky can be a very, very good complimentary player who will be an asset to any team for which he plays, for years to come.

Hopefully that team will be the C’s.

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