I don’t expect much from the Washington Wizards’ sophomore guard Johnny Davis this upcoming year. He can’t shoot and he doesn’t have much of an offensive game. I didn’t see a defensive dog last season, but he seems to have found something in summer league, I just don’t think it’s enough.
He averaged 1.5 steals per game during summer league play, but fellow teammate Ryan Rollins recorded 2.5 steals per game. Johnny might be an above-average defender, but I need to see it in the regular season.
The lack of offense for a guard is a lot to overcome and you’d need more than just passable or slightly above-average defense to do it. You’d need to have Ben Simmons’ pre-injury level defense, and even then, you’re just one bad pass away from ending your career as a guard.
In terms of perimeter players with incredible defense, I look directly at Mattise Thyybulle who couldn’t find himself reliably in Doc Rivers’ rotation last season because he lacked offensive skills. Davis hasn’t shown anything close to Thybulle-level defense, so the expectations for him should once again be tempered.
That said, Davis should play 3rd string in the shooting guard rotation. Even though Ryan Rollins is listed as a point guard, there’s a part of me that would want to see him on the court with Tyus Jones. Can Rollins play the role Jordan Goodwin played last season?
People may have forgotten, but midway through last season, Goodwin had a better three-point percentage than Corey Kispert. Goodwin was a great 3&D player early in the season and he locked it down until Delon Wright came back from injury. I’m hopeful that Davis or Rollins can fill that role.
His Summer League performance suggests that Rollins has a chance, but Summer League is a bad predictor of anything outside of measuring rookie and fringe player progress year to year. In that regard, Davis was much improved, but I’m not convinced he’s even a rotation player yet.
In the end, Johnny deserves a legitimate chance to prove himself. So far he just hasn’t had one. The 3rd string is open, and excellent play could easily knock out Laundry Shamet or Ryan Rollins. However, I’d bet that Rollins outplays him and Davis gets waived by the team.
I suspect Davis would hop around in the G League for a couple of years and eventually make his way back into the NBA as a role player. He has proven that he’s capable of growing his game, but I think he needs more time to develop. He’s just not going to get it with the Wizards.
He’s a draft pick from the old regime, and this new one will have their plans for young players that they themselves choose. They won’t wait another two years for Davis’ development when they see a much brighter future for Bilal and others.
I hope for the best for Johnny Davis, but I’ll be keeping my expectations to a minimum.