Two weeks ago, Glen “Big Baby” Davis was asked to comment on the Celtics’ offseason. Specifically, these topics included the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, playing with future Hall of Famers, and being in a contract year. Perhaps the comment that should have resonated the deepest with Celtics fans is Davis’ feelings on himself.
When asked by the Boston Globe about the team’s high expectations of Davis, he responded by saying all the right things:
“This is the year of finally hitting that line of maturity of finally becoming that player that I knew I could be. This is the year of just all-around. Throughout my career, my three years being here, it’s been up and down. When I play, you’ve seen glimpses, like, ‘Wow, this guy could start. Or come off the bench.’ Glimpses up and down. But this is the year of Glen becoming that whole player that 10 years down the road, eight years down the road will hopefully be an all-star.”
A couple of things should give some Celtics fans pause. The most obvious concern is playing time with the Celtics’ new acquisitions on the front line. Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal and even Luke Harangody should all have some effect on Davis’ playing time. No longer will Davis be used to body up the likes of Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard- the Celtics now have Shaquille O’Neal for that. No longer is it a foregone conclusion that Glen Davis will be the first or second player up off the bench once Kendrick Perkins has completely recovered from his knee injury.
Glen Davis is 24 years old. It’s safe to say that he will not be an All Star ten years from now. Positivity is one thing, delusion is another. All NBA players aspire to do great things- win championships, become All Stars, be good teammates- but Davis has enjoyed so much success with the Boston Celtics because he has eschewed some of his more personal goals for the greater good of the team. Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have asked Davis to do many things outside of his comfort zone. Davis has been asked to guard centers, stretch fours, and some small forwards. When Kevin Garnett went down with his mysterious leg injury and did not play in the 2008-2009 playoffs, Davis filled in admirably by showing off his versatility and skills he had not had to use since college.
So what does this all mean for next year? There is no doubt in my mind that Davis can become a good NBA player. A rotation player who can fill a need for many teams. But what is his ceiling? If I had to take a guess on how good Davis could really be, I would put my money on par with Rodney Rogers. Not a bad person to emulate but not an All Star.
Davis could also just easily regress, a la Detroit’s Jason Maxiell. Maxiell once appeared to be a lock to be the heir apparent to Ben Wallace. Now he looks more like a short power forward whose range does not extend beyond 15 feet.
How good Davis can be on the court is one thing, and then there’s that one key word Davis used that should have been a red flag to any Celtics fan: maturity. The NBA is a world where actions speak much louder than words. It’s pretty hard to imagine Glen Davis taking his emotions out of his play. It’s hard to imagine an And-1 without a flex and a yell. It’s hard to imagine that Shrek and Donkey are a thing of the past.
A few weeks before Glen Davis talked about becoming the mature player he needs to be this season, he was knee deep in a Dougie war with Nate Robinson. In the two weeks since Davis has made these statements, he (or should I say his Twitter) has shown us Big Baby as a rocked out Waldo, a Steve Urkel-esque nerd, and what Big Baby as aptly titled “his Dump Face“.
Those are just the pictures with which Glen Davis has treated the entire Interwebs. These do not include some sage advice to which his followers have been privy: “if your girl make high heels from playless look like some red bottoms form saks!! she a keeper!!! Believe the baby” and “If your girl can put make up on and texts and eat her breakfast at the same time !!! She a keeper!! Believe the baby!!!”.
None of these things are as bad as choking out a D-League player or throwing your girlfriend down a flight of stairs. Nowhere close. However, Davis will have to prove that his maturity will manifest itself through his play and on-court composure.
What do you think? Do you “believe the baby” when he says he’s going to reach the level of maturity necessary to be a great NBA player? Is Glen Davis primed for a breakout year? Will we never see the Big Baby cry on the bench again?