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Glen Davis - Then and Now: Less is More

There is little doubt that Glen Davis’ NBA journey has not been a straight line upward. No, it hasn’t been a bouncing ball (no jokes) either.

In a year where Glen has gotten leaner and stronger than at anytime previously in his career, his theme, like the rest of the team’s theme this season might be: Less is More.

Glen Davis has shown intriguing potential since his college days at LSU. His college career wasn’t a straight line of success either.

Making it to the 2006 NCAA Final Four, the LSU Tigers, led by Davis and teammate Tyrus Thomas took out new Celtic teammate, Shelden Williams’ Duke team and LaMarcus Aldridge’s Texas Longhorns to get there.

The Tigers and Davis ran out of gas against the UCLA Bruins of Aaron Afflalo and Jordan Farmer, getting beaten handily.

Glen was considered a potential first round pick but decided to stay at LSU for his junior year. Tyrus Thomas went on to be drafted 4th overall by the Chicago Bulls.

The lone low post option now, teams loaded up defensively against Glen in 2006-7, and both the Tigers record and Davis’ reputation took a hit as they finished just 17-15, after going 29-7 in 2006.

His fate was decided from the very first game of his 2006-7 season…

LSU Coach John Brady

They were almost playing a man zone, which didn’t allow us to get the ball into Glen. We understand we are going to see some of that. His teammates have to help him by making some outside jump shots."

They apparently didn’t make very many all season.

A few games later, Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon

‘We did a great job on the big fellow (Glen Davis), double-teaming."

Oh come on. Quadruple teaming a Baby? check this next one out.....

Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar on defending Glen Davis…

We just wanted to limit his touches. When he did touch the ball we wanted to make sure that we loaded up on him in the paint, meaning that four guys would be in the paint.

One of those four was future Sacramento King center Spencer Hawes. That just ain't right.
Welcome to the nightly swamp full of alligators. What’s a Big Baby to do?

Without a replacement for the departed Thomas, and outside shooting by his teammates MIA, Glen was attracting double, triple, and even quadruple teams. He somehow managed to score (17.7) and rebound (10.4), but the team barely played over .500 for the year.

Did all those double, triple teams as the team's go-to guy induce Glen to attempt to do a bit more than he should have? Probably.

Davis’ may have tried to carry the scoring weight for the Tigers, but his own weight was an ongoing concern for NBA decision-makers. He dropped out of the 1st round, falling to a waiting Danny Ainge, who requested that Seattle draft him as their second round pick and add him into the trade for Ray Allen.

During his best season, Draftexpress' 2006 college scouting reports accurately painted the picture a unique basketball player…

Athletically, Davis is very rare. A player his size, with his strength and bulk, combined with his unique agility and nimbleness on the court does not come along very often. He has very quick feet, and can get up and down the court a lot better than most would assume. Davis is a mountain of a man, an immoveable object in the paint in many respects because of his wide body and physical strength. He has massive arms and looks like he could bench press a truck if really wanted too.

The key is that he knows how to use his strength, too. It is not wasted on the court; he can use it when carving space for himself to post up, or to limit post players from setting up where they want to in the paint on offense. Another intriguing part of his game is that he is very coordinated for a big man, and has huge and soft, but strong hands on defense and offense.

That is dead on. But they also noted his weaknesses…

Davis has quite a few weaknesses to his game as far as his NBA potential goes.

The first would be his size. At 6-8, Davis is severely undersized for an NBA power forward already. Although being 310+ pounds works for him currently in the NCAA, NBA teams will have to see some type of potential for him to get under 280 pounds if they are even going to take him seriously.

His extra weight already limits him severely from getting off the ground to finish around the hoop or get rebounds out of his area. Conditioning issues have been a major problem for Davis throughout his career because of all the extra weight he carries, and shedding most of his excess baggage could go a long ways in making him even more nimble on the court.

Second is how he appears to force the issue excessively by going away from his strengths and trying to play too much like a guard rather than going inside and banging down low, especially in terms of using his ball-handling. ….he must adapt himself to becoming more of a role player that can do all the little things and play to his strengths.

For those who didn’t think that Davis had a jump shot before this season….he certainly did…

Another very surprisingly aspect of Davis’s game is that he has a very developed mid-range jump shot. He can shoot efficiently and effectively from the 15-17 foot range or even beyond and shows great shooting touch for a man his size.

Davis really likes shooting at the top of the key in the circle, which is where he is most effective if left open.

And note that Glen has used that fade away before to effective use….

When he is on the block posting up, Davis also has a very good fade-away jump shot that he can use off of a spin move. As the SEC player of the year, he’s a true go-to player for his team and will look for his shot in all situations to try and carry his team offensively.

That brings us to today. Glen’s role will grow somewhat and be reduced at the same time with the addition of Rasheed.

Doc Rivers on the Dennis and Callahan Show on WEEI recently…

Q: Will Baby’s roll change significantly this year?

Not really. His minutes probably will change obviously. They’ll probably be similar to what they were before Kevin was hurt. No…Baby just has to keep growing. Keep maturing as a person on and off the floor. Offensively, we want him to do the same things. Make the open shot.

He will roll to the post more when he’s playing with Rasheed, because we want Rasheed pulling guys away from the basket, and it gets a mismatch going back to the post so, in that way it will.

We want to limit Baby’s turnovers. He’s a high turnover guy at times last year when he tried to do too much and we want to convince Baby he doesn’t have to do too much. If it’s open (the shot) take it. If not, move the ball.

Regarding pick and roll, here what the 2006 scouting report said…

On offense if there is one play that Davis can execute to perfection it is the pick and roll. It all starts with his ability to set a great screen with his wide body, and then use his quickness to get open followed by implementing his fine short-range jump shooting ability. He is a pick and pop player and if he gets in trouble he knows how to pass his way out of a double team. Davis is comfortable with the basketball in his hands and simply goes out and makes plays.

So his role in the pick and roll changes to - roll to the hoop. Doc said that Davis can be clever and effective around the hoop. He wants Davis to work on improving that aspect. Glen uses his body well around the hoop and draws contact and makes fouls shots at 71% (same as college), good enough to make teams pay, yet another area he can improve on with the deft shooting touch he has shown. 

Doc wants Glen to work on using his body a bit more. So Glen can expand his limited role in a strictly disciplined game to include more scoring around the hoop. The potential is there. He just needs to get the chance to work on it in games.

Doc Rivers has another homework assignment for Glen…

We want to limit Baby’s turnovers. He’s a high turnover guy at times last year when he tried to do too much and we want to convince Baby he doesn’t have to do too much. If it’s open (the shot) take it. If not, move the ball.

Less is more. But I believe that Glen can actually be a very good passer. He has shown good instincts passing at times. As he continues to be more relaxed on the court that should improve.

After re-signing with a two year contract, what is Glen Davis’ mindset this season?…

I’m here. I got a lot of experience being in the playoffs and being in primetime situation. With my past experience, I think Doc trusts me more as a player. Seeing me handle it… handling practice in a professional way everyday. I’m just trying to work hard every day. You know…consistency and making sure that I can contribute on the bench.

What’s new for you this year?

It’s kind of different with Rasheed. You know he (Doc) gives me the option to do whatever, but with Rasheed being such a three point threat, I most definitely have to be the 5 guy with Rasheed in the game. Good thing about it is the fact that me being the five guy in the game, it’s hard for a (opposing) five to guard a guy like me on offense.

And on defense I can guard fives, fours, whoever Rasheed wants me to guard, I’ll guard. You know…I’m just trying to help my team.

But last year, having the opportunity to show what I can do in the league, it’s like…you can play the game, so don’t worry about it if you don’t play as much. Everybody knows you can play. Everybody knows you can hit big shots. Coaches know that.

So, it’s not about proving myself anymore. Now, it’s about becoming the best player you can be. I think this year is going to help me, you know, help to build that base up to be that great player.

So what’s the next step for you to do that?

Stay mentally focused. Also, stay in shape. That’s what I’ve been working on this off season. Just staying in shape. Making sure that I’m in shape, because you never know, it might be your time. And that’s all I’m looking forward to is….helping my team wherever they need me. That’s basically it.

I’m just trying to fit in and do the right thing.

Davis has had his faults or areas that need improvement. That has been evident. But I saw the potential. I still do. He has not shown all of his abilities yet. And they need time to develop on the court. It seems like he will get a chance to do that a little bit more this season.

Davis has done the right thing. Now he is fitting in - to a smaller jersey. In lesser minutes, he will have an increasing role on the team. Less… is more. And the more it helps the Celtics’ drive for banner 18.

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