Los Angeles Lakers Must Develop Hidden Gem Ed Davis for the Future

As bleak as the present looks for the Los Angeles Lakers, their future doesn't seem much brighter.

The cupboards are nearly barren, as a franchise that spent so much time living for today never needed to worry about tomorrow. There are barely any prospects in the picture, and reinforcements could be hard to find with the Lakers possibly on the hook for two of their next three first-round picks.

L.A.'s hopes rest on the shoulders of 19-year-old Julius Randle, whose rookie season likely ended the same night it started. Beyond the lottery pick, the Lakers are banking on their ability to attract several front-line free agents over the coming summers.

So much of this rebuilding project is going to be guesswork. Breakout candidate Ed Davis could be a welcome supply of certitude. Just starting to scratch the surface of his full potential, he has already given the Lakers reasons to consider keeping him around for the long haul.

"He is 25 and could be part of the Lakers' future," ESPN.com's Arash Markazi wrote of Davis. "... In a season that doesn't have many silver linings, developing Davis may actually be one of them."

It's a stretch to say that Davis' emergence comes as a complete surprise. After all, he was the 13th overall pick in 2010 and the assumed centerpiece of the package the Memphis Grizzlies received in exchange for career 18.3 points-per-game scorer Rudy Gay.

The basketball world has always been intrigued by Davis. Considering the physical gifts he brings to the table—7'0" wingspan and 36-inch max vertical, per DraftExpress—it isn't hard to see why scouts would like the lanky, springy, high-motor big man.

That said, the Lakers didn't exactly know what they were getting when they lured Davis in on a bargain two-year, $2 million contract this summer. The economic value seemed terrific, though that was more a reflection of what he might be...

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