After four productive years at Purdue, Rapheal Davis is set for the 2016 NBA Draft. And according to Indiana's NewsCenter he's had his sights on playing professionally, either here or in Europe, since high school. The NBA's not out of the question, but it'll be an uphill climb and he may ultimately look to continue his career overseas.
At the moment Chad Ford, ESPN's draft insider, doesn't have Davis in his top-100 draft prospects. Let's take a look at his career and game and see where he might project either here or (more likely) overseas.
I hate to stereotype, but Davis seems cut from the traditional Purdue mold as he's not the flashiest, but was solid, productive and smart. He's made winning basketball plays for four years at Purdue (and really it has been four years as Davis has been contributing for Matt Painter's program since arriving to West Lafayette). While most players might take their time developing or learning the system, Davis saw plenty of action his first two seasons when he averaged nearly 19 minutes per game.
Perhaps his best season at Purdue was his junior year. In that season he played more than 31 minutes per game, shot 45 percent from the floor (30 percent from three) and averaged 10.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. That was also the only time Davis would go on to average double-figures in scoring.
His overall shooting percentage dipped as a senior to 38 percent, but Davis doubled his three-point attempts and actually improved to a 35 percent shooter from beyond the arc. His dip in overall shooting was partially due to him shooting more threes and getting to line fewer times. (Davis also missed four games in the middle of the non-conference.) Last season his highlight perhaps came against Michigan State on February 9th. Davis went 6-for-8 from three, scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds in Purdue's 82-81 overtime win over the Spartans.
At 6'5", 217, according to ESPN, he has ideal size to defend multiple wing positions in the NBA and is also sound fundamentally as a defender. (At Purdue guys who have lapses defensively usually don't play.) However, as an athlete it's a huge jump to guard wings in the NBA, obviously. Likely because he's not a dynamic shooter or offensive talent, that's the main NBA concern.
Normally for fringe NBA guys, they need to have one outstanding skillset or they need to possess freakish, raw athletic ability. (That's not to say that well-rounded, just solid guys can't catch on somewhere.) Davis is not a lights out perimeter shooter or a great offensive talent. While he's definitely a solid defender, he's going to have a major athletic transition to defend NBA wings. He's very capable in all those areas, just not elite.
Davis probably won't get drafted on June 23rd, but that doesn't mean this is the end of his basketball career.
His ultimate destiny is probably to sign with an NBA team (post-draft) as a free agent and participating in the summer league, with a possible landing spot in the D-League imaginable this fall. If that doesn't pan out, he'll end up overseas. Either way, he's probably in Europe but he could take a quick NBA-camp detour. Davis also wouldn't be the first Purdue player to head overseas, with a number of former Boilermakers establishing productive careers overseas.
Getting invited to an NBA's team camp can trigger a permanent roster spot, so it's possible Davis will land on a roster. But again, in all likelihood, he'll soon embark on a multi-year career abroad.