Ole Miss Basketball: NBA potential of former Rebel guard Terence Davis

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

After an illustrious career with the Rebels, Ole Miss Basketball senior guard Terence Davis is off to the pros, where he has ample ability to thrive in the modern NBA.

Long-time and much-appreciated Ole Miss basketball guard Terence Davis saw his college eligibility expire this past season under first-year head coach Kermit Davis. The senior averaged over 15 points-per-game as part of the Rebels’ three-headed monster in the backcourt who helped Mississippi secure Davis’ lone NCAA Tournament appearance during his collegiate career.

After a first-round exit against Oklahoma, Davis is set to graduate, both from school and from amateur basketball. His next stop: the National Basketball Association, hopefully. His stock is consensus late-second to undrafted, so sticking in the League will be a tough task.

Davis, a 6’4 athletic combo guard boasts a wide array of skills that will require specialization should he earn minutes on an NBA court. At the college level, Davis was the total package in his senior year.

The senior guard led the team in assists, shot the ball well from beyond the arc, rebounded incredibly well for a guard, and posted the team’s highest defensive rating per 100 possessions. For Ole Miss, there wasn’t a player you’d rather have on the court over Davis. He brought energy, hustle, and effort to every contest no matter the circumstance.

In the NBA, Davis will have to sell teams on his effort and intensity across the board and prove to be either a capable backup point-guard capable of running second-team offenses or a knockdown three-point shooter at shooting guard.

If he can concentrate his offensive game around being a complimentary role player who acts either as a distributor or a heat-check bench scorer, in addition to providing 100% effort and toughness on the other end of the floor, Davis can stick for a few years.

I think both possibilities are on the table. Davis, at 6’4, has a sturdy, strong body and is more than capable of imposing himself physically at the point guard spot. I’d compare his build to that of Patrick Beverley, who can manhandle opposing point guards with his powerful frame despite standing just 6’1.

Davis also plays with the same chippiness and aggression as Beverley at the college level. When evaluating how college players will translate to the next level, I like to use comparisons to current guys. And for Davis’ potential as a point guard, I think his ceiling is a tranquilized version of Pat-Bev who provides all the skills Beverley does, but with higher offensive upside and less-fundamental defense at this point.

However, if Davis arrives at the professional ranks and is turned into the modern binge-three-point-shooting archetype, then he must find a gym and start putting up 250 threes a day. If you don’t follow the NBA the “3-and-D” mold dominates every team’s bench. A 3-and-D guy is a role player who helps space the floor by knocking down threes and plays above-average defense.

It’s a simple formula. Excel in both areas and you will find yourself on an NBA roster. Davis has the defensive aspect down. He can defend the gamut of shooting guards he’ll see in the NBA reasonably well. The issue is shooting, where he’s inconsistent.

I’d say he should model his game after Terrence Ross in terms of being slotted as a shooting guard. Ross, though taller and sometimes played at small forward, is a confident and streaky three-point shooter who’s shored up his consistency a bit over his career and now fills an important offensive role on a playoff team with the Orlando Magic.

Like Ross, Davis takes and makes contested threes and has enough athleticism to get his shot off over most defenders. So, if being a spark-plug off-ball shooter is Davis’ preferred route, he should take notes from a guy who’s a couple-inches-taller version of himself. Plus, Davis’ rebounding and defense are already better than Ross’ at this stage.

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For Davis to make an impact in the League and earn a multiyear deal, he’ll have to prove he’s more than a position-less guard who plays decent defense and shoots with wild inconsistency. Instead, he’ll have to present his game either as a capable, tough, backup point guard, or a 3-and-D two-guard who can stretch the floor with above-average three-point shooting.