The first thing Glen Davis did this season was complain about his role, which is weird. Since then, he’s been filling it perfectly.
Does anyone have a single complaint about Davis’s play so far this season? Didn’t think so. He has always been a spark of energy off the bench. He has always fought his (oversized) arse off every time he steps on the floor. He has always taken charges like his idol was Shane Battier. But now he’s gained consistency. He’s producing, and he’s doing it efficiently.
Most importantly, he now trusts Doc Rivers’s offense. There was one play this preseason when I thought to myself, “Well I’ll be Goddamned. Big Baby finally gets it.” It wasn’t a dunk, a no-look pass, a charge taken, or even a rebound. In fact, it didn’t register at all in the stat book and was probably overlooked by most observers. Big Baby just caught a swing pass and, two-tenths of a second later, had already swung the ball to the next player. Then Big Baby sprinted (not ran, sprinted) to go set a screen. It was like he was a robot designed specifically to run Doc Rivers’s offense to perfection. There wasn’t any hesitation, no thoughts racing through his head: “Hey, if I swing the ball here I might not score myself.”
That willingness to trust (and run) the offense is the biggest change Big Baby’s made this year. He’s made other changes of course; Paul Pierce keeps raving about how Big Baby’s in great shape (if that’s great shape, I’d hate to see bad shape) and has more lift than he used to. But I don’t think Big Baby’s improved conditioning is why he’s been finishing better around the hoop. Big Baby now understands that he doesn’t have to create opportunities by himself — the offense will do that for him. Where he used to actively seek opportunities for himself, he now waits for opportunities to come to him.
Think about it — almost all of Big Baby’s points this year have been easy. He hasn’t made too many sweeping hook shots and he hasn’t been draining stepback jumpers. He’s been cutting to the middle of the lane, catching passes from his teammates, and finishing against defenders that were thrown off his trail by the hard cuts. He’s been shooting open midrange jumpers, and only the open ones. He’s made a few very nice post moves, but even the post moves normally occur when Big Baby has a nice matchup. What I’m trying to say is this: Big Baby’s not doing anything he shouldn’t do. He’s not doing anything he can’t do. He’s cut most of the fat out of his game. (Even if he can’t cut it off his body. Sorry, Big Baby. Had to do it.) He’s keeping everything simple.
Big Baby has been trying to do less this year. He just wants to run the offense and capitalize when he has an opportunity. Sometimes, less is more.