The Incredible Shrinking Big Baby

Glen Davis played for LSU in the Final Four weighing a whopping 340 lbs.  Drafted a year later, he checked into the NBA at 310 lbs.  I'm not sure where his weight is right now, but at times he's indicated that his goal is to get down to around 280 lbs. and his recently signed contract has weight clauses that could be worth up to a million dollars to him (which qualifies as one of the best diet motivations I've ever heard).  He looked noticeably thinner in his press conference already and it will be interesting to see what he checks in at tomorrow.

And it might not just be his waistline that could be shrinking.  Last year he filled in admirably for an injured Kevin Garnett and was counted on for big minutes and scoring.

Davis was pressed into the starting lineup and went from 21 minutes per game to 36 while bumping his scoring average from 7.0 points to 15.8 a game.

Provided KG is healthy and with the addition of Rasheed Wallace, it would appear that Big Baby's role will be considerably smaller this year.  So one of the camp questions would be "what is Big Baby's role going to be on this team?"

For one thing, it is very nice knowing that if an injury occurs (KG is a concern, Perkins could pop out his shoulder at any time, and Sheed is no spring chicken), we know that Davis is ready, willing, and able to step up into a larger role because we've seen him do it. 

For another thing, as a player who is still young and growing his game, we can expect to see more and more maturity and development of his skillset.  Doc likes his big men to be able to shoot from outside.  Last year he dramatically improved his midrange jumper over the course of the year (to the point where he hit a game winning jump shot in the playoffs).  Reports are that he's worked on extending his range out to the 3 point line this summer.

As an improving young player, it only made sense to test the waters of free agency.  He already had a ring and if he could get more money and a larger role on another team, he would have jumped at the chance.  However, the market decided to pass him over and he will have to settle for a smaller role and a smaller paycheck on a team with legitimate Championship aspirations.

It will be interesting to see how he reacts to this new role, considering that at times he's been very openly emotional on and off the court.  That is part of who he is and why he can be such a funloving guy when he's enjoying himself.  The trick for Doc and the rest of the team is finding the right kind of motivation for him.  Maybe KG screaming at him in the huddle (and apparently calling him out) wasn't the best motivation for him.  Some guys need more positive motivation.  Some guys need goals (like say a clause in their contract tied to target playing weights). 

Also, some guys need consistent playing time to get into a rhythm.  Some are able to share time or give spot minutes at a high level.  For the first year and a half of Baby's career, he seemed to platoon with Leon Powe.  Whoever was doing better against a particular team got to play more that day.  There were some really bright spots for Davis early on (noticeably against the Pistons and Spurs) but there were forgettable moments as well.  Can he go back to being the 4th option in the frontcourt and still be effective most of the time?

Only time will tell how much time he'll get.  We know he was hoping to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, but perhaps he'll be just as successful as a smaller (and smaller) fish in the big pond of Boston.

More Player Articles: Kevin Garnett | Ray Allen | Paul Pierce | Rajon Rondo | Kendrick Perkins | Rasheed Wallace | Brian Scalabrine | Bill Walker | Lester Hudson | Eddie House | Tony Allen | Shelden Williams

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