Raptors pick Bosh’s replacement

At first glance, it might look like the Toronto Raptors swapped one six-foot-10 left-handed rebounding specialist for another.

NBA commissioner David Stern

NBA commissioner David Stern

TORONTO — At first glance, it might look like the Toronto Raptors swapped one six-foot-10 left-handed rebounding specialist for another.

The Raptors chose University of North Carolina forward Ed Davis with the 13th pick in the NBA draft Thursday, raising questions about his being a possible replacement for all-star Chris Bosh.

But regardless of what the future holds in this uncertain off-season for Toronto, Raptors president and GM Bryan Colangelo said Davis was a terrific catch at No. 13. Not only was he a player expected to go significantly sooner in the draft, he also fills a hole up front on a roster that will assuredly lose at least one big man — and that one big man could be Bosh.

“A lot needs to play out in the coming weeks. I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m confident that Chris is coming back,” Colangelo said. “That’s why the selection of Ed Davis at this spot is one that looks to be the right piece.”

The six-foot-10, 225-pound Davis led the Tar Heels in rebounding, with 9.6 per game, blocked shots (2.8), and was second in scoring (13.4) in his sophomore season, but suffered a season-ending injury on Feb. 10 in a game against Duke when he broke a bone in his left — shooting — wrist.

The 21-year-old, who strode up on the stage at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York dressed in a charcoal grey suit, was asked what he knew about his new Canadian home.

“My favourite player Chris Bosh plays there,” he answered.

He later told Toronto reporters he’s modelled his game around Bosh for the past three or four years.

“Because he’s a lefty, 6-11, he can shoot it, he’s just a good all-around power forward, top three best power forwards in the game right now, just a great player to model my game after,” Davis said.

Whether the two will ever line up on the Raptors front court together remains to be seen as Bosh is set to become a free agent July 1, and hasn’t so much as hinted at what his future plans are.

Colangelo said earlier this week that with so many questions surrounding his roster, he planned to take the best player on the board rather than necessarily pick a replacement for Bosh.

Raptors coach Jay Triano said Davis was not only the best available, he can fill a big void up front.

“We didn’t think he’d be available at 13, we thought he would be long gone, to have him keep sliding, we kept crossing our fingers that he’d keep sliding one more, one more, and he falls right into our lap, which was great,” Triano said.

“When you look at the free agents that we have with Chris Bosh, Amir Johnson, Patrick O’Bryant, Rasho Nesterovic — that’s four bigs,” he added. “The fact that we got a big was great. Regardless of who signs, and who comes back and who plays, he’s a big body and he’s athletic and he fits the trend that the NBA is starting to move towards.”

Davis, the son of former NBA player Terry Davis, is known for his rebounding at both ends of the floor, and uses his length and explosiveness to block shots. One weakness is his face-up game.

“He needs to work on his jump shot,” Triano said.

Davis was leading the ACC in field goal percentage (.578), blocked shots, was second in rebounding and 15th in scoring before his wrist injury ended his season.

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