Kris Davis is a 25 year old 188cm guard from Detroit that finished his fourth professional season and first with Phoenix Hagen averaging 13,6ppg, 2,4rpg and 3,5apg. He played the last three seasons in Spain. Last season he played with KIA Sakimovil Navarra de Pamplona (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 35 games averaging 14.1ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 50.6%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 75.0%. Two seasons ago he played with Arcos Albacete Basket (Spain-LEB Silver) playing 30 games averaging 15.9ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 39.7%, FT: 72.5%. As a rookie he played with Penas Huesca (Spain-LEB Gold) playing 40 games averaging 7.1ppg, 1.4rpg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 30.9%, FT: 65.3%. He started his basketball career with SIU Edwardsville (NCAA in 2011 playing a total of 110 NCAA games. In his senior year he played 28 games averaging 14.3ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 44.2%, FT: 69.9%. He spoke to eurobasket.com about his season in Germany.
Kris thanks for talking to eurobasket.com. Where are you at the moment and what will be the first restaurant that you will visit when you get off the plane when you get home?
Miles, thank you for taking the time to reach out to me again. Right now I am still in Hagen enjoying some down time with my teammates. The first restaurant I will visit when I get home will be 8 mile Grill Coney Island. Straight from the airport, no stops!
Has the NCAA Madness taken your mind off not reaching the playoffs with Phoenix Hagen?
Actually it has the opposite effect. Watching the NCAA tournament only reminds me that we should be playing post-regular season games too but it didn’t work out for us this season.
The fight for the playoffs in the Pro A was fierce as the teams 9-12 were very close behind not more than two wins less. How disappointing was it not making the cut into the top 8?
It was very disappointing for everyone a part of the Phoenix club. With the same exact record last year, Phoenix was able to secure a spot to the playoffs but there was so much parity in the league this year that 15 wins was not enough for us this time around. We only have ourselves to blame because we had multiple chances to secure our spot in the play-offs; We just didn’t get it done.
What is your summary of the team season. Were a few import players missing and what could the team have done better to have reached the playoffs?
It was definitely an up and down year for us. Firing our first coach after 6 games, then not having a head coach for the next 3 games, and finally adjusting to Coach Harris’ style of play was a lot to deal with in one season. Given the circumstances, I thought we did pretty well with handling most of the adversity. We had everything that a playoff team needed but we let too many chances slip away in games that we should have won.
Phoenix Hagen had a very roller coaster season. It’s best stretch of the season was from mid November to Christmas. Why couldn’t the team find that success again in 2019?
I think during that stretch we were playing so incredibly hard because at that point we had nothing to lose. I believe we won 8 games in a row before we eventually ended up losing to Ehingen. It’s hard to say exactly why we couldn’t harness that energy again to go another streak. The truth is we were winning on the road but couldn’t manage to win a home game in 2019.
The club lost four of five games to end the season and miss the playoffs. Was the bitter 92-90 loss to Trier at the start of this five game skid the game that mentally broke you guys?
Mentally everyone was still activated even after the loss to Trier because we knew we still had a chance to make the playoffs. Everyone was always optimistic and positive until the very end of the season. Coach Harris did a great job of keeping us motivated before, during, and after the games too, win or lose. I think during this skid we just had a bit of bad luck.
Phoenix Hagen scored points and was one of the top rebounding teams, but despite giving up 80 points still ninth best. It seems like the Pro A is becoming more of a scoring league. Why do you feel are clubs having more difficulty keeping points off the board?
I think it’s more so to do with the quality of players in the Pro A. Compared to other leagues I have played in, the Pro A is more of a fast paced/one on one type of league. Of course there are some teams who are great at executing set plays but for the most part guys put their individual skills on display each game. So I wouldn’t say clubs are having trouble playing defense, it’s just the quality of players in the Pro A is at an exceptional level.
Despite missing the playoffs, what positives can the club take from this season?
Even though we didn’t make the playoffs, everyone remained relatively healthy. Only one major injury with Marco and his knee. We managed to turn a 2-6 start around with 8 straight victories in a very close/competitive league. Through all the ups and downs of the season the team managed to stay together and not point fingers at each other when things didn’t go our way. I’d say these were the most positive things that we could take away from this season.
Let’s talk about your teammates. What kind of a pleasure was it playing with Alex Herrera? How good is he and what stories from Spain did you tell each other?
I absolutely loved playing with every guy in that locker room, including Al. Al has a lot of weapons that most guys his size do not have. He can back you down on either block, finish with either hand, shoot the pick & pop mid-range shot, and he can even step out and hit an occasional three when he wants. Down on the defensive end the guy is a great rim protector. It’s interesting because we both had similar experiences from playing in Spain and we would always talk about how grateful we were for the situation at Phoenix.
You played with many German players. Which player do you feel made the biggest jump in their development this season?
It’s hard to say because I didn’t get to see any of them play last year to have this year to compare it to. Just off of the top of my head, I think the younger guys who would practice with us sometimes (Emil, Tobi, Jonah) really learned and improved a lot this year.
What was your impression of German Jonas Grof? He has had BBL experience. What do you remember from your duels with him in practice and what did you appreciate most about his game?
With Jonas being 6’5, he has a size advantage that most point guards you’ll run across won’t have. He does an excellent job of getting into the lane and using his size/body to get where he wants to in the paint and finish strong. On top of his body control, he also has great court vision in transition and when reading pick & rolls. Above all of his qualities as a basketball player, Jonas is a great guy on and off the court. At all times he remained positive and he probably has the most contagious laugh I’ve ever heard. Just a fun guy to be around.
Another German who had a solid season was Jannik Lodders. How did you see his development and what did you appreciate most about what he was able to display on the court?
The thing is appreciated most about Jan is that he always give his maximum effort when he stepped on the court. He brought the same energy that he used offensively to the defensive end as well. He’s very athletic, can guard positions 1-4, and can shut down the opposing team’s best wing player. Jannik is a very good two-way player.
What kind of impression did German Dominik Spohr who has BBL experience make on you. Was his glue guy like abilities one that helped the team most?
Dom’s leadership aura is the first impression I had of him. He’s just the kind of guy you want with you when it’s war time. Dom always put the team first when it came to anything basketball related. His basketball IQ and veteran savvy helped us out a lot when games were close down the stretch.
Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 13,6ppg, 2,4rpg and 3,5apg. How content were you with your first season in Germany?
We didn’t make the playoffs so it was not enough. I should have done more to put our team in position to be playing in April. I’m not sure how most Americans do in their first year in the Pro A so it’s hard for me to say if I’m content with those numbers. I just know it was not enough for to make the playoffs so I have to be better next time around.
In our last interview you stated, ‘It’s always a challenge trying to keep your shot on point. Especially with the 3 point line being a little further back, you just have to adjust. However, practice makes perfect and I’m confident that I will reach 40% shooting from Three again’. You were so close at 39,8%. How much of a challenge was being a good three point shooter in the German Pro A compared to the Leb Silver in Spain?
The difference in level became clearer to me as each game of the season came and went. I found myself having to focus a little more and to pick my spots better because of the level of individual defense and team defense in the Pro A; So shooting well in the Pro A was a little bit more of a challenge.
How do you feel were you able to grow as a player in the German Pro A. As a point guard it is vital to make the right play. Was this something that continued to grow in your game?
Absolutely. I feel my ability as a playmaker/decision maker was the one quality that increased the most this season. I was given more opportunities to create for my teammates by making defensive reads and quick decisions.
What was your personal best game this season? Possibly your 22 point effort in the victory over top Pro A team Chemnitz?
I think this game against Chemnitz was probably my best game too. Not only because of the stats but because of the timing of the win. It was a very important road game for us and we needed the W badly. I was glad I was able to perform well and help us get the win.
What is the next step for you? I’m sure you will get good offers from Pro A playoff teams and possibly some BBL teams. Would Germany be a big option on your list or could you imagine taking on a new challenge and culture in another country?
Staying in Germany is definitely a big option. I don’t know exactly how this summer will unfold but I will talk with my agent and make the best decision for myself and my family. Seeing new cultures is always fun and exciting but sometimes it’s best to remain where things are familiar and comfortable for you.
You have a long summer ahead of you. On what things will you be working on most in the basketball lab as you get ready for that next opportunity?
Well I’ll start going to the weight room about a week after I fly back home. I need to become a little stronger and work on my core a lot in the off season. As far as in the lab, I’ll work on shooting off the dribble a lot and continue developing point guard/playmaking tendencies. I’m also going to prepare mentally a lot more to get over the hump from being good to being great.
Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s
Wow haha this is a tough one. I think I would have to go with these five guys: Mike Torres, Derian Shaffer, Ray Lester, Joel Aminu, Rozell Nunn
It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA?
I don’t see why not. He has everything that an all-time great possesses. His offensive skill set is unbelievable and he thinks the game really well too. I guess it all comes down to if he will win enough to be considered an all-time great European player.
What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time?
I admire the confidence he has in himself and the journey he has taken to be able to say something like that. I’m not in a position to say if he is right because I was too young to see Jordan’s era but LeBron is the best player I’ve ever seen.
Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?
Of course I do. Tom Brady went to the University of Michigan so by default he is more of a GOAT than MJ (I’m a huge Michigan Wolverines fan). But all jokes aside, I agree with Charles. MJ took a break in the middle of his career to go and play basketball. Tom Brady has been consistently great for as long as I can remember. I think his longevity gives him the edge over Michael.
Tom Brady won sixth Super Bowl. Where will he be if he wins a seventh next season?
He is already considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time so if he wins a seventh in the following season, I think that places him in a stratosphere all by himself.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie that I saw was a classic called Money Talks. One of Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen’s funniest movies to this day.
Thanks Kris for the chat