There's no doubt that some Celtics fans are fed up with the theme of "the kids aren't alright". However, ever since Doc noted that team chemistry was less than perfect last season, any comment regarding a player's potential unhappiness in his role is going to be scrutinized. As such, Mark Murphy's article this morning regarding Glen Davis sent up some red flags:
Davis’ biggest change - and this is strictly a work in progress - is the need to contain his ego.
Kevin Garnett’s return from knee surgery means Davis’ prime-time role will be reduced. He’s back to being a reserve and sometimes envisions the worst possible result from it.
"It’s real difficult to go back, from playing 30 minutes or even 35 on a good night, to playing 12 or 15 on a good night," Davis said. "There’s a lot of great players on this team."
Surely, he’s being hard on himself. Surely, there’s more playing time in store.
"I hope so," he said.
As a result, Davis now faces a significant mental challenge. He must accept a smaller role.
"I don’t know how to accept that yet," he said. "I don’t know how to do it yet. It’s not as if we’ve gone over it. Nobody tells me nothing."
The above doesn't sound like a happy player. Davis notes in the article that if another team had offered him a position as a starter, he would have readily left the team. Davis came so close to leaving that, according to him, he told his girlfriend to pack their bags, before ultimately deciding to resign with the Celts.
Is this a concern? Possibly. First, there's no doubt that Glen Davis is an emotional player. One wonders whether concerns about his role will fester, especially in light of yesterday's article that there were some tensions between the veterans and the young guys on the team. Certainly, it would have been better to hear BBD simply echo the words from earlier this summer, when he said "The Celtics organization is a great thing to be a part of . . . For me to come in here and fill out my role - whatever that might be - it's an exciting time." Maybe "ubuntu" was just a slogan from the championship season, but I miss hearing it.
On the other hand, I think BBD's frustrations are normal. It's clear that he thinks he earned a larger role with the team, and from his past comments, it's also pretty likely that he wants minutes so he can earn a larger contract. For better or for worse, BBD has always made it clear that this is a business, and it's pretty clear that he wants to maximize that business opportunity. While that certainly sounds anti-ubuntu, it also means that BBD will be doing everything in his power to perform when he does see minutes, not only to earn more time on the floor, but to get the notice of opposing general managers. Indeed, BBD wasn't happy when he slipped to the second round, but rather than sulk, he put together strong rookie and sophomore campaigns to earn himself a nice contract. There's no reason to doubt that he won't put the same effort in next year.
While it may have been better if BBD had avoided the topic altogether, it's important to remember how he left things:
"That’s great, to have the chance to be a part of something this great," Davis said. "I’m here now - a part of it. So I have to roll with the shot I’ve got. I’m here until they don’t want me anymore."
I think that's the right attitude to have, and let's hope that this is the mind set that ultimately wins out. BBD will have enough problems dealing with his new interior / rebounding role; there's no need to let ego and pride complicate things even further.