By Steve Gunn and Jason Goorman
Now we know why.
The news broke Sunday that Davis has signed a three-year, $4 million guaranteed contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, the team that traded for him shortly after he was selected by the Boston Celtics in the draft.
It’s reportedly the richest guaranteed contract for an American-born second round selection in the history of the NBA.
Many experts had predicted that Davis would be a first-round pick in the draft, and were surprised when he was the 31st overall selection – the first selection of the second round.
Some speculated that he would not receive a guaranteed contract, because those more typically go to first-round selections. But the Grizzlies obviously see a lot of potential in Davis, and were willing to invest big money in his future.
“I feel great,” Davis told LocalSportsJournal.com on Sunday from Las Vegas, where’s he’s playing for the Grizzlies’ NBA Summer League team. “I just heard about (the contract) from my agent. It really hasn’t kicked in yet. It’s very exciting.”
When asked if he regretted leaving MSU following his freshman season, particularly after he fell to the second round of the draft, Davis said “never.”
“It was pretty tough,” Davis said about his long wait on draft night, which was a major topic of conversation during the ESPN live telecast of the draft. “I just had to wait it out. I figured it would happen whenever it happened.
“It was a dream come true just to hear my name. Any team would have been OK with me.”
Davis said he’s already spoken to David Fizdale, the new coach of the Grizzlies, and several of his assistants.
“They said we’re going to be learning together – they just want to help us become great players.”
Davis stressed that he is not nervous about beginning play in the NBA Summer League, or about the Grizzlies’ training camp this fall.
“It’s just basketball – just at another level,” he said.
Muskegon High School basketball coach Keith Guy, who’s been in Las Vegas with Davis over the past week, said he felt confident that everything would work out for his former star player.
“It was not a mistake,” Guy said. “It was a very informed decision. He was chosen where God intended him to be chosen. He and I talked about it and he has no regrets. Now it’s time for him to get to work.
“He’s with an organization that traded up to get him and they are happy to have him. That says a lot. The Grizzlies have a new coaching staff and have added some free agent pieces. They also have guys to mentor (Davis).”
Guy said he’s certain the Grizzlies will keep Davis on the roster, but isn’t sure how big of a role he will play in his rookie season.
“That’s all predicated on what happens in training camp,” Guy said. “They know he’s going to contribute at some point. I think they have high hopes that he will play some part in the rotation right away, but if not they will wrap their arms around him and let him develop at his pace.”
Davis’ Summer League debut will be delayed for a few games, because he developed plantar fasciitis in his left foot during recent workouts.
“It’s a minor setback,” Davis said. “Hopefully it will only be a few days.”