Post-game Reactions

Quick! Break down Glen Davis’s offensive game for me. Should be fun, right?

You probably thought of two things right off the bat:

  1. Great hands, soft touch around the rim. Uses his body well. Just has a knack for offensive rebounds and put-backs.
  2. Can step out and bury that short-range jumper.

Maybe you like how Baby always muscles his way into good positions. Or the way he steps into every shot with Ray Allen-type confidence. You might even be visualizing that game-winner in Orlando during last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.

Well, here’s my bone to pick with Baby. I think he takes waaaaaay too many jump shots. Yes, the Celtics are 21-4 and everything is great and Davis obviously isn’t hurting the team in any visible way right now. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Hear me out:

I guess I should preface this post by saying I am not the biggest Glen Davis guy. When the Celtics drafted him, I never thought for one second that he would end up making an NBA rotation. Too undersized. Too slow. Wingspan wasn’t great. Re-jumpability needed work (clearly Jay Bilas had an impact on my youth).

But after Davis exceeded expectations during his first two seasons with the Celtics, I was more than happy to admit I was wrong. It was pretty obvious that Davis had a special talent for finishing around the rim, and that’s a skill you can’t really teach. Now in his 4th season, Davis’s interior game has really come together and it’s a huge reason why the Celtics are riding a 12-game winning streak despite all their injuries.

The Big Four would never admit this, but I wonder if they secretly prefer having Davis out on the court instead of Kendrick Perkins during key offensive possessions. Just gives everyone a reliable fifth scoring option.

However, the operative word there is “fifth.” Not the second or third option. Not fourth. But fifth. Meaning you don’t take 18-foot jumpers when you’re playing with four future Hall of Famers. And even when you’re not playing with the starters, keep in mind that the team as a whole is leading the NBA in eFG% at over 54%.

The real problem I have, though, isn’t the number of shots that Davis takes.  It’s the type of shots he takes. Davis takes about 10 shots per game, which is exactly what I want from him. (By comparison, Paul Pierce takes about 13, Kevin Garnett and Allen about 12). But look at this breakdown:

Shots at rim: 3 attempts per game, shooting 73%
Other shots: 7 attempts per game, shooting 40% (hoopdata.com)

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say this is borderline outrageous. These attempts should be completely reversed! As the numbers show, Davis is finishing at an incredible rate around the basket. And while that 40% shooting percentage from other spots is certainly good, don’t the Celtics already have players that fill that role? Players named Pierce and Allen and Garnett, just off the top of my head.

So why only three layup/dunk attempts per game?

Personally, I think Baby has always had a chip on his shoulder and wants to prove that he is more than a role player in the NBA. That he’s got game and isn’t just some scrappy guy who comes off the bench so he can bang around inside against other backups. Keep in mind, in the past he has talked about making an All-Star team at some point in his career.

And while I’m not going to try to pretend to understand the KG-Big Baby dynamic, I also think it’s quite possible that Davis sees how effective of a player Garnett has become as a mid-range shooter, and he wants to emulate that.

But Baby, do your team (and yourself) a favor. Ease up on the jump shots. There’s nothing wrong with being a great post-player. And that’s what the Celtics need from you. Especially right now.

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Michael Salvucci

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  • ElRoz

    Yes…perhaps. But besides the winning shot in game 4 in Orlando, don't forget a base-line jumper in SA that same season, it also won a game. If taking two or three too many jumpshots helps keep his confidence up and keeps him "in tune" for taking more, I am ready to live with that. In a number of games this season the best play seemed to be a G. Davis jumper.

  • CsFanInArkansas

    Not a bad post at all – but to think that BBD is taking all these jumpers without the green light from the coaching staff is ignorant.
    Doc commands a great deal of respect from his players – they give him that – that's not debatable. They do what he says – that's why we are among tops in the league in offensive efficiency (our players carry out the coaches instructions, based on what the coaching staff thinks is reasonable to expect out of our players…and the players are currently doing a great job of executing). So, to say that Baby's shot selection comes from a me-first, chip-on-my-shoulder, i'll-show-you mindset is pretty far-fetched.
    Doc and the rest of the team obviously trust Baby's jumper – he's got a great stroke for a big and has been pretty consistent with it…and when you've got three other 20-thousand career point scorers on the floor with you, you've got to imagine that the defense is going to give Glen Davis a better look than the rest of those guys.

    We're a pretty warm 21-4 right now…the last two posts have been to the "and my beef with THIS Celtics player is…" tune….weak sauce, in my opinion.

    • MikeS

      It's true. We're really just nitpicking at this point, the C's just look so good. I agree that a wide open Baby shot is a great look, but I would say there are always like 2/3 shots a game that he forces because he thinks he's more of a scorer than he is.

      • CsFanInArkansas

        I guess what some people see as a "force" others view as a guy just looking to score the ball – which is fine.
        I just thought from your initial post that picking on a guy that's coming off the bench to average 12 pts and 7 boards (shooting 50% from the field and 78% from the line) was a little odd…
        At the end of the day, Mike – regardless of which of us is a BBD fan and which of us isn't – we are passionate about our Boston Celtics…which makes me want to be your friend.

        • JCP

          Amen, Arkansas. This may be borderline heresy for other C's fans, but I've noticed more and more this year a tendency from (*gasp*) Paul Pierce to force up shots when he just isn't open and has just stood in one place dribbling instead of trying to create something.

          Sure, BBD does seem like "a chucker" (to use a Seinfeld reference), but he is generally open and has a make-able shot when he shoots.

          Lastly, I think that BBD being ready to take shots gives the Big 3 more open opportunities… especially under the basket. I feel like most of Rondo's assists to a C standing by himself under the basket happen when Shaq isn't in the floor, but when BBD is drawing a big out from under the basket.

    • What More Can I Say?

      Great post here Arkansas. Real good stuff.

  • complexity

    I agree with the article. And it drives me crazy when he's shooting when you have the three future hall of famers out there. But how bad is 40% percent when you're left with 6 seconds on the clock after a failed Ray Screen or KG kickout. Especially considering that he makes shots when the second string is very stagnant. Now, besides if we plan to tell Nate to take more shots or go to semi more in the box, which is a reasonable idea if he doesn't turn over. I think we just have to live with the shots Glenn is taken. If Doc Rivers said something to him about it, you know he would be a lot more hesitant. Figure it this way as well, that percentage is only going to go up as he gets more confidence and takes more shots. That could be very valuable in the future.

    • Morey

      I totally disagree with this article. We are early in the season, not the finals, let the man shoot 10 a game, start nit picking now and it effects his confidence. This is why Doc is great and so are the Celtics. We want him to shoot, especially if there is hope for a good offense. We give guys like him the green light. I say if he's in a rotation and hes some some offense let him have fun too….

  • Keltic

    I think we need production from Baby more then anyone else, and if that means wide open jumshots, which he has proved he can make, then that is fine by me. Listen, I know production from your bigs should come in the form of layups and dunks. However, Baby's post game really isn't that great due to him being undersized (vertically of course). I actually get more frustrated when he use to try to force it under the basket around guys 5 inches taller.

    Now that Baby has developed a jump shot it forces defenders have to respect it, closing the space between Baby and the defender. That jumpshot actually allows him to get to the basket easier, and get those easy buckets.

    I would have to say that maybe he could cut down on the jumpshots by maybe one or two a game, but I don't think it is a major concern, especially now that he's knocking them down. If he continues to make jumpshots it will continue to open his game even more.

  • Eric

    Shooting 40% on midrange jumpers is the league average, so it's hard to complain about that. Also, it's not like he gets the ball, dribbles from the block to 18 feed out, and shoots. His shots are coming in the flow of the offense, usually on a kickout from Pierce or Rondo. He's not forcing up shots with a defender in his grill. Defenders are sagging off to cover the penetrator and so he's open. It'd be worse if he weren't talking those shots, because then there'd be no reason for the defense to not do a "hard" double on the ballhandler and clog the paint more. If he's not taking these shots, he shouldn't even be on the floor.

    I think this is a complaint about nothing. Ideally, yes, he'd be taking three-footers all the time (and getting them blocked, probably). But with the Cs offense the way it is, with the skill sets of the rest of the team, Davis's shots make perfect sense. Or would you rather have Rasheed shooting 24% on three-pointers?

    • What More Can I Say?

      Another solid post.

  • Glp

    Interesting that Pierce also makes 40% of his 2-point jumpers and attempts about 6 of them per game …

  • Glp

    Also interesting that Big Baby's assist rate on 2-point jumpers is somewhere around 90% while Paul's is 39% …

  • Morey

    I totally disagree with this article. We are early in the season, not the finals, let the man shoot 10 a game, start nit picking now and it effects his confidence. This is why Doc is great and so are the Celtics. We want him to shoot, especially if there is hope for a good offense. We give guys like him the green light. I say if he's in a rotation and hes some some offense let him have fun too….

  • kricky

    He needs to set the jumper up so that he can get to the rim. Because of his size and lack of lift he can't just go in there and jump over anyone to score. (remeeber how many shots he got blocked last year. It looks like he is cutting down on this).

    He needs to get past his man to get a good look. When he forces them to guard him up outside the paint it's easier for him to get by his man.

    Also posters are right in pointing out that his shots are coming within the flow of the offense. The team is looking to take these shots.

  • Tom

    I think most people will agree with me that we have no problem with him taking jumpers when he is wide open and can line up before a shot. We just hate how he dribbles an hoist up a shot like he is LeBron James. He had one shot against Atlanta that was like that.

  • Devin_in_Maine

    The point about Baby shooting a higher percentage of his shots in close notwithstanding, the overall point that he is taking too many shots is, I believe, unfounded.

    Glen Davis is the #4 scorer on this Celtics squad at 11.7 ppg and he accomplishes this off an average 9.4 attempts per game while shooting 49.8% overall. Here are the #4 scorers from the other teams making up the top 3 in both conferences by attempts per game (via/HoopData):

    Spurs – Tim Duncan – 11.2 attempts and 13.4 ppg at 48.4%
    Bulls – Noah – 10.3 attempts and 14.2 ppg at 51.1%
    Mavs – Shawn Marion – 9.1 attempts and 10.7 ppg at 50%
    Lakers – Shannon Brown – 8.3 attempts and 10.8 ppg at 47.6%
    Miami – Haslem – 6.6 attempts and 8.0 ppg at 51.2%

    This obviously just looks at the top teams, but they are all that really matter right? So basically on this list, Baby scores more per game in fewer attempts than all but Duncan and Noah, both starters.

    Don't be so quick to jump on the Baby…He's basically shooting 50% from the floor, which is no difference from a statistically significant perspective than Pierce or Ray.

    Until the numbers change, I think you gotta let Baby be Baby.

    • Cool Hand Luke

      From a statistically significant perspective you'd consider eFG or TS% in the former category his .498 is way below Pierce's .538 and rayray's .573. With true shooting, which is more useful anyhow I believe, he's at .543 which is around league average while ray and paul are both upwards of .6, the comparison in efficiency of scoring is ridiculous. They're above league average and well above the team's average. Davis is below team average. That doesn't mean he's not productive, but his scoring is at a pretty average rate (maybe a touch above) all things considered.

      Anyway, the point of this article is, he's doing FANTASTIC at the rim, he's average from midrange (which aren't shots we generally want to take a ton of anyway, as they're inefficient). So with such a good shooting team let's have him shoot those a bit less, opens up the shots (especially when he's with the first unit) for better shooters. I agree with it completely.

  • playingitout

    Doc may be allowing BBD to take all these jumpers, yes. But if that's the case, and it almost surely is, it's because HE WANTS HIM TO GET BETTER AT IT. If Baby does NOT get better at it, then he needs to stop doing it. So the question is simply: when do you decide that he's reached his ceiling in FG% from outside? It's a reasonable argument to say that he's already reached it. But the best way to determine this is to look at Baby's FG% curve from outside. If it's flat, and has been for a while, that's probably his ceiling. I suspect that's the case, but haven't done the research.

    • DRJ1


  • What More Can I Say?

    Where you at Hayes? Where you at Brendan? You guys are BBD jump shot haters…I'd love to read your opinion on Mike's piece while the C's have a 12 game winning streak. You guys were lobbying against the man shooting jumpers when they won 4 in a row. LOL!

    I'm just gonna be honest. You guys (Celtic's Hub) are bored. The C's have HALF their team on the DL in really nice, really LARGE suits watching the the other half of the team rack up wins effortlessly. This team is so good it's amazing. I fully expect them to put together a 20 game winning streak and I would not be remotely surprised if it was not this current winning streak that extends to 20+ wins!

    I will say Mike that I 100% agree with your assumption that BBD believes he is more than a role player in the NBA.

    • hdavenport

      Here I'm at. Like I mentioned earlier today, I think Baby's found a decent balance between at-rim attempts and jumpers. I think his numbers are skewed from when he was taking like nine 20-footers per game, which I complained about at the time and would complain about today if it started up again.

      He's finishing well right now because he's getting good opportunities under the rim. We've seen in previous years that he's actually not THAT effective backing defenders down because of his size. Most of his layups and dunks now are in motion, getting a pass on his way to the basket, and he's converting those at a really impressive rate.

    • hdavenport

      And a quick note on being bored: last year's team opened the season 20-4. Fans were making noise pretty similar to the noise you're making above. Then they finished the season 27-27 and everyone turned their back on them. Then they blew through the playoffs and made it to Game 7 of the Finals.

      You can't, can't, can't react only to a team's record. If the team's winning but there are areas where it could improve, you point them out. If they're losing but you notice some bright spots, you point those out. Shifts in trajectory can sneak up on a fan base, sometimes more than once in a season. The Mavs finished second in the West last year, but their record was inflated and they got torched in the first round by a far superior Spurs team.

      I'm not saying what happened last year will happen again. I'm just saying you don't want to limit yourself to good news about a 20-4 team, because the news is never ALL good.

  • RondoExpress

    I'm loving the Celtic Nation going to bat for BBD! I love him as a Celtic, and while I do agree with him taking 2/3 bad/forced shots a game, I agree with Eric that most of these shots are coming in the flow of the offense and are generally good looks.

  • CG12

    I could not disagree more. This post totally fails to acknowledge the causal relationship between the two shooting percentages. Baby is shooting so well at the rim in large part BECAUSE he is shooting the jumper and shooting it well. If he did not take and make jump shots, guys would just play off him and he would get his business sent with great regularity, just like he used to, much to everyone's frustration. Players have shots they are supposed to take. Baby is clearly supposed to shoot 15-18 foot jumpers when he has them. He gets them on the catch, they look good, they go in with some regularity. what is not to like?

    "I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say this is borderline outrageous." You are being completely unreasonable. If he took fewer jumpers and more shots at the rim, his percentages in both would go down, and at the rim would probably go way down. If he took 7 shots at the rim a game, some of them would be the flat-footed, under-the-rim, force ups that simply don't work. Remember the guy who got blocked more than anyone else in the league? We don't want to see him. Baby is doing it right. He is a 6'6" PF/C, and absolutely must mix up his game to be effective. And the fact that other teams must respect his J opens the floor for everyone else, as his man can't help off him as aggressively.

    It is easy to say "PFs should play in the paint, Baby is a PF, so Baby should play in the paint" but Baby is a unique player to whom that does not apply and has really done a lot to minimize his weaknesses (lack of height) and use his strengths (quickness, agility, jumpshooting). I commend him and the team.

  • Sam from San Diego

    I love baby davis, he is celtic pride. The guy hustles, leads the league in charges taken, plays with emotion that charges up the crowd and has been clutch since he got here. He is the definition of a 6th man. When he comes in, I do not expect a drop off just because he is a bench guy. When all the players come back, his minutes will shorten and he will need to give the team scoring punch with even less time, so please take the shot the defense is giving you. Im even wondering if he can become 3 pt capable as some of his jumpers are close to that marker.

    Bottom line is he is playing the best basketball of his career.

  • dtla la

    When you're arguing that Baby should, in essence, be taking 5 mid-range shots per game rather than 7, and your team has the best record in the NBA, you may be making yourself vulnerable to the charge that you're quibbling over very little.

    If the Celtics lose five in a row, and Baby seems to be reverting to more and more jump-shooting, as opposed to his current seemingly-optimal mix, I'll join you in the Baby-hate. But not freaking before, please.

  • dtla la

    When you're arguing that Baby should, in essence, be taking 5 mid-range shots per game rather than 7, and your team has the best record in the NBA, you may be making yourself vulnerable to the charge that you're quibbling over very little.

  • KY Celts fan

    No problem with it. He can knock it down, and always shoots in the flow of the offense, unlike Nate’s well documented shot selection. And I think most of his finishes at the rim come off of offensive rebounds. Davis knows his role and he’s playing it well.

  • DRJ1

    If Baby's FG% away from the rim has been holding steady at 40% long enough to establish a real pattern, then of course he's taking too many such shots, and/or his shot selection from deep(er) needs to be improved. I dunno….. seems pretty obvious. The numbers tell the tale, and should determine the plan.

  • JP-

    baby is getting open looks from having the other plays of the court, he wouldn't get open looks around the rim. I dont think he forces shots, I think he plays within the flow of the offense

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