Before the 2019 NBA Draft arrives, Peachtree Hoops will break down more than 70 available prospects with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks may look to do in late June.
This installment takes a look at Ole Miss guard Terence Davis.
Terence Davis is an interesting prospect in the fact that he’s a 6’4 athlete that has improved his three-point percentage drastically over the past four seasons at the University of Mississippi. Currently ranked 64th in ESPN’s Top 100, Davis projects as a fringe top-10 player at shooting guard in the 2019 class. With the draft process in the early stages, Davis has time to rise (or fall) and solidify his chances of being drafted, as he currently sits firmly on the bubble of either being a late second-round choice or going undrafted and seeking NBA employment via a summer contract, which could be guaranteed or converted to a two-way deal. Davis profiles as a combo guard at the next level, standing at 6’4 and possessing enough court vision to play either position in the backcourt in stretches.
Davis shot over 37% from three-point-range on over 5 attempts per game as a senior, a career mark for the 22-year-old. The steady improvement in percentage from deep over his collegiate career (27.3% as a freshman on 0.6 attempts vs. 37.1% as a senior on 5.3 attempts per game) is encouraging and probably his best chance at sticking in an NBA rotation. If Davis can continue to improve his percentage from deep, it will go a long way towards him being an NBA player long-term. Davis also averaged a career high 3.5 assists per game in his senior season to go with an assist percentage of 22.9%, a career high by a wide margin. Davis’ ability to find the open teammate is crucial at his size. At 6’4, he could end up guarding a lot of point guards, using his length to be a difference maker on that end.
Davis’ best shot at sticking in the NBA is to be a 3-and-D type backcourt weapon off the bench. Davis ranked in the top third of the 2019 draft class in points per possession on both pull-up and catch-and-shoot jumpers as a senior. He was top-20 in the class in shooting from the midrange, and above average from beyond the arc. Another strength of Davis’ game is running out in transition for easy baskets. He was among the leaders in points per possession in transition, with 107 points on 89 possessions on the fast break. Davis did rank on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to cutting to the basket in the halfcourt, scoring only 34 points on 37 cuts in his senior season. This, along with isolating, are Davis’ two biggest weaknesses currently. The senior had only six points on 12 isolation possessions for the entire 2019 season, so he’s not necessarily a full-blown scorer at this point in his career and prefers to remain on the perimeter when off the ball.
The best case scenario for Davis may mirror some of what a good comparison for Davis would be possibly be Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets, if we can go back that far. Barton went in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft. Barton’s teammate Monte Morris is a more recent example of a second-round pick that panned out at his relative size and position, but Morris possesses far more in the way of court vision and assist to turnover ratio that Davis projects to bring to the table. Barton and Davis are relatively the same size, and Davis actually shot a better percentage from the three-point line as a collegiate athlete, with both players comfortable shooting off of the catch or the dribble. The main thing that probably sets Barton ahead of Davis is that he’s better in isolation situations, something Davis did not do much of at Ole Miss. Offensively, Davis should probably be in more of a Danny Green role, cutting to the basket on the weak side and running off of screens for catch-and-shoot jumpers.
It’s going to be fairly tough for Davis to crack an NBA rotation on a consistent basis without elite shooting from deep due to his lack of isolation skills. He’s already shown a steady arc of progression from three at Ole Miss, so it’s certainly possible that he is able to shoot near the 40% threshold at some point in his career and hold down a backup wing role for an NBA club. Whether he’s drafted or signed on a two-way deal, Davis will be an interesting option for clubs in the market for guard depth towards the end of the draft.
The Hawks are bringing back Kevin Huerter, Taurean Prince, DeAndre’ Bembry, and Kent Bazemore as of now, along with possibly bringing in two perimeter players in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, and immense cap space, so the path to court time for Davis in Atlanta would be murky at best if selected. He has the potential to play his way up the board over the next few weeks, but as of now it doesn’t appear that he’d be in play at No. 35, No. 41 or No. 44 for Atlanta in the second round.
Wherever Davis lands, it’s more than possible he spends time in the G League and/or near the end of an NBA bench for the majority of the season. The best case scenario for Davis, as a rookie anyway, is probably to land with a rebuilding team and fight for minutes over the course of the season.