2023 NBA Draft: The Top 15 Veteran Prospects in the ACC

RJ Davis Runs
(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RJ Davis, North Carolina

The hi-lo connection between Brady Manek and Armando Bacot was the nexus of North Carolina’s half-court offense this past season. That was the foundation. The player tasked with initiating those actions, though, and helping to unlock Caleb Love, was RJ Davis.

Prior to UNC’s march to the NCAA title game, the play of Davis may have flown a little under the radar; however, as the quarterback of quarterback of a Top 20 offense, he was instrumental to the team’s success, while putting together an awesome individual season.

Davis was an iron man for North Carolina; he played just under 34 minutes per contest and worked as the team’s offensive caretaker. Davis averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists (19.5 percent assist rate) and (only) 1.9 turnovers per game. He was the only player in the ACC to shoot above 35.0 percent on his 3-point attempts (66-of-180 3PA, 36.7 3P%) — with 16.0 percent assist rate and under 16.0 percent turnover rate.

Size will always be a bit of a limiting factor for Davis; at 6-foot, he’s likely never going to be a good finisher in the paint (47.2 FG% at the rim in the half court). Davis doesn’t possess elite burst, either. He doesn’t create advantages by racing around his defender.

Instead, Davis uses his shiftiness and quickness to knife into pockets of space. He’s a patient pick-and-roll creator, too. When he’s able to turn the corner or bend the defense, Davis consistently makes good decisions with the basketball, while mixing in bits of manipulation.

According to Synergy, North Carolina scored 0.90 points per pick-and-roll possession with Davis as the primary ball-handler.

The next step for Davis will be improving his pull-up 3-point shooting.

Davis is already a light-out shooter off the catch, which is a nice feature for spot-ups around Bacot’s post touches. However, Davis could do even more damage in the pick-and-roll or isolation with a more reliable off-dribble deep ball.

It’s not that he’s a poor pull-up shooter, but if Davis can bump those off-dribble percentages into the upper 30s, then it’s a real game-changer for him as a prospect. Beyond his time in Chapel Hill, Davis will need to be a plus-positive on the offensive side of the ball. He has the decision-making and pick-and-roll reads covered.

Davis is what he is from a physical standpoint, too. So, the area for growth is the pull-up 3-ball.

If Davis shows that his pick-and-roll repertoire includes a pull-up 3, that means defenses won’t be able to go under the ball screen. It means he’ll be able to reliably run pick-and-roll actions at the next level. This will force teams to actually react to the screen, and from there Davis can get to all of the other positive pass-first things he does with the ball.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16