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Sizing Up the 2nd Unit: A Case for Davis

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baby.jpgOk, what have we learned about the 2nd unit thus far?

1. A pure "bench" squad or one with just Ray Allen has been a terrible failure offensively. Scalabrine, Posey, and House are spot up threats that score off the creativity of others. Powe is purely a rebounder and drop-off option in this offense and Tony Allen isn’t up to snuff yet and is being hindered by the one-dimensional nature of this lineup.

2. The same bench unit is also very effective defensively, so they can be relied on to limit 2nd chance baskets and force opponents into bad shots...despite shooting atrociously as a group, the 2nd unit has held opponents down in terms of points in the paint, 2nd chance baskets, and overall field goal percentage.

Now, with Tony Allen being less than 100 percent in terms of his game, the team is going to be forced to keep GPA on the court for more minutes or else they'll be a complete zero offensively while 2 of them are out...at least that's what it looks like thus far.

The 2nd unit is just far too reliant on player motion and ball movement to create shots and is almost exclusively perimeter oriented. Powe’s ability to battle down low is being negated somewhat by the fact that he is alone on an island playing with a group of sub-standard rebounders. With that being said, the frontcourt could use a boost in productivity on the boards as well as on the offensive end.

The answer to this could very well be Glen Davis....

While Davis still has a ton to work on, for the 8-12 minutes the team would like to rest GPA, Davis provides some dynamics that are currently lacking in the 2nd group.

Davis is a quality rebounder to complement Leon Powe on the glass while Posey and House are spotting up from outside. Davis also has the ability to create out of the high post which can open things up a bit for the other players to move off-ball and get into a better position to shoot. This could especially help Tony Allen, who needs some space to slash to the hoop, which just isn't happening with the entire defense glued to him on the perimeter.

Having two big bodies down low will increase the probability of the C's getting some offensive rebounds as well as giving them a true option to dump the ball off to in order to create some defensive rotation to the low post. Davis' presence should also make Powe's job easier as he'll have less people to battle on the glass by himself.

Brian Scalabrine is by far the more experienced player, but he duplicates Posey and House as a perimeter oriented threat who relies on others to create opportunities. The conventional wisdom from the team may be to switch Davis and Powe in 2nd unit, taking it for granted that the "little things" that Scalabrine does as a vet are more valuable.

But for the small amount of time the Celtics may actually play without GPA on the floor or with only one of the two perimeter stars, it seems like stronger logic to forsake a little experience in exchange for better floor balance. Davis/Powe mimics the dynamic that Garnett/Perk create, albeit a much weaker version. But two strong rebounders creating a high/low post presence with one being able to put the ball on the floor and create while the other cleans up…that seems like a sweater symmetry for success...

If the team wants to maximize GPAs effectiveness over the course of the entire season then they'll have to get a more productive 2nd unit going and without Allen at his best, that just doesn't seem feasible from the current 2nd unit group. Davis had a tangible effect on the offensive production of the team during the Nets game and was essentially the only player who could make much of anything happen.

One game does not constitute a strong sample-set, but one doesn't need to see more of Davis to understand that his offensive ability trumps the skills of the current 2nd unit players. Davis can create offense and that is something that is clearly lacking from the others. The fact that he has the raw skill to play face-up or back to the basket only strengthens his cause for inclusion in the rotation.  Davis clearly has his work cut out for him in terms of conditioning and learning his full responsibilities in an NBA system, but for short minutes he just may be the best on-roster option to break the bench out of its offensive funk.