Ed Davis passed on Summer League ball because ‘a coach who doesn’t have a job’ asked him to play

Center/forward Ed Davis Jr. saw his minutes drop from 24 to 15 per game after being traded from Toronto to the Memphis Grizzlies in January. The third-year big man never seemed to catch a break from former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, who resented the deal that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto, going away from Davis even though the Grizzlies were working off of a thinned-out bench.

With Hollins gone, and the Grizzlies creating a hoped-for new start under coach David Joerger, one would think Davis would dive head first into the sort of offseason seasoning that turns prospects into full time contributors. Though would-be fourth-year players don’t often suit up for NBA Summer League games, Grizz fans (and most expectedly, management) hoped that Davis could throw an elbow or two in the team’s Summer League appearances this month in Las Vegas.

The eagle eyes at Memphisport, via Brett Pollakoff at Pro Basketball Talk, caught this snippy exchange between Davis, and the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s very good Grizzlies beat writer, Ronald Tillery. Tillery got the first dig in:

That final tweet, as Pollakoff noted, was eventually deleted by Davis. Though he’d be justified in leaving it up, as Hollins never really tried to work Davis into the rotation, despite Ed averaging a double-double per every 36 minutes he’s played thus far in his career. For Hollins to give a parting shot to Davis in asking him to go to the Summer League, just days before being let go as coach? It seems awfully presumptuous, and I can understand the resentment.

With that in place, Tillery (who was an ardent Hollins supporter, though that really isn’t factoring into this exchange) is correct. It wouldn’t hurt in the slightest for Davis to get a few reps in, especially after playing just 592 total minutes, regular and postseason combined, following the trade to Memphis. Davis just turned 24, so it’s not as if he’d be working as an embarrassed greybeard up there, returning for senior year after flunking the year before.

It’s true that, as Davis pointed out, we don’t know the formula. There are dozens of ways to improve over the offseason, but only one of them pitches you against NBA-caliber talent, with actual high end referees, coaching staffs, and (this year) a tournament on the line. And it’d be a nice nod to Grizzlies fans, some of whom are still worried about the team’s future after they sent Gay to Toronto for a guy that didn’t play and Tayshaun Prince, who shot 35 percent from the floor during the playoffs.

No word on whether or not Lionel Hollins plans to attend the Las Vegas Summer League, heckling Memphis from afar.

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