Terence Davis Jr., better known to some by his nickname, Mr. Make ‘Em Believe, has certainly accomplished – and far surpassed – any goals that he had set out for his rookie season in the NBA, and he has everybody believing that he can go even further.
Coming out of Ole Miss as a four-year player, Davis was projected to land somewhere in the late second round of the 2019 NBA Draft. He was seen as an undersized shooting guard with explosive athleticism, and minimal ability to create a shot for himself, or for others. Ultimately, his shortcomings were his downfall. 60 picks were made on draft night, and somehow, Terence Davis was not one of them – something that will make all thirty NBA General Managers, and virtually every scout or front office executive in the league look like an idiot in the near future.
But Davis doesn’t give up. Much like Fred VanVleet – the man most well-known for betting on himself when the die didn’t land on his number – TD did the same. Soon after the draft, Davis received many offers to sign on as a two-way player, but he knew that he was capable of more than that. Davis refused to play as the 17th man on a roster and spend most of his time in the G-League, when he humbly believed that he was capable of doing more. That’s why rather than signing with a team as a free agent immediately after the draft, he decided to go play in the Las Vegas Summer League, and show every NBA team just how badly they messed up.
In his first Summer League contest with the Denver Nuggets, Davis dropped 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, opening the eyes of scouts and executives around the NBA. Luckily, Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster were among the first to spot him. Before the Nuggets even played their next game, Davis had inked a two-year, $2.4M contract with the Toronto Raptors, including nearly $900,000 in guaranteed money – something extremely rare for an undrafted rookie – yet extremely worth it, given how well Davis has performed.
In his rookie year, Terence Davis posted averages of 7.5 points, 1.6 assists, and 3.3 rebounds, while shooting 45.6% from the field, and 38.8% from deep, making him the fifth best three-point shooter percentage-wise among all rookies. The most impressive game of his season came at the beginning of February, when Davis exploded for 31 points against the Chicago Bulls, shooting a ridiculous 12-for-15 from the floor, and leading the Raptors to a win. If it wasn’t already clear before then, Davis let it be known that he was going to be a star in this league.
Still, he was somehow snubbed from being named a Rising Star at All-Star Weekend, but alas, he has received his recognition. Today, Terence Davis was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team. Davis’ selection makes him the first Raptor to make a rookie team since Jonas Valanciunas did in 2013, and surely, he has a bright future ahead of him.
With Fred VanVleet hitting free agency this summer, and due to command a large contract, it remains to be seen whether he will don the red and white of the Raptors next season. If not, Davis should see a much larger role with the team, and will continue to develop his game further, which is exciting for Raptors fans, and scary for all other 29 teams. Even if VanVleet stays, the 23-year-old stud should see an uptick in playing time and responsibility, if he can continue to grow as a scorer, and remain as tenacious of a defender as he was in his initial campaign.