Dear Glen Davis,
First, I want to warn you: you aren’t going to like everything I’ve got to say. I will say my piece bluntly, and the words will occasionally be as sharp as Dwight Howard’s elbows (and you know too much about those).
Try to take my criticism constructively, rather than simply as a diss. I respect everything you’ve done this season, and still consider you a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year. Your defensive improvement — from a constant disadvantage to your own team, to a positive difference-maker each night — continues to stun me to no end. You have worked on every part of your game, it’s clear, and that’s admirable. You’ve been the bench’s lone bright spot all season long, and your versatility — you can play center or power forward, in the post or on the perimeter — provides a valuable weapon to Doc Rivers. You’ve even shown the defensive ability to stick in front of guards on switches (remember moving your feet to stop Tony Parker, then sliding to the baseline to pick up a charge on Richard Jefferson?), something that just doesn’t look natural from a 6’9, 300-pound man. Additionally you’ve become Shane Battier on steroids, taking charges like you have an incentive built into your contract.
All that said, there’s only one way you could feel good about your two most recent games — if Tommy Lee Jones dressed up in his Men In Black outfit, then entirely erased your memory of the past three days. That’s it. That’s the only way you can feel good about your efforts. Because if you can remember them, you’d remember you were God awful.
Sorry, Glen, but there’s no other way to describe your past two games. You’ve acted like you were the go-to guy, on a team where you’re (for now) the third scoring option. And your a distant third. I don’t know if this is true, but it looks like you’ve gotten a little too big for your britches. You’re over-extending your talents, Glen, rather than just playing a role. Just because you’re (temporarily) in the starting lineup doesn’t mean you should deviate from everything you’ve done all season.
Doc Rivers blamed your struggles on increased minutes. (CSNNE)
“He’s getting too many minutes, honestly,” said Rivers, who was quick to blame himself. “Thirty-eight minutes is too many for Baby. That’s too many minutes and that’s on me. Baby shouldn’t play more than in the thirty-range, because I think the fatigue is bothering him.”
Yes, fatigue may bother you, Glen. You aren’t exactly built to run a marathon, we understand. But fatigue doesn’t quite explain all those bricks you’re throwing up in the first half. Unless, of course, pregame layup lines leave you winded.
I’d like to think your struggles are a simple by-product of Kevin Garnett’s absence. That you’re simply trying to perform tasks you’re incapable of, because you’re attempting to fill Garnett’s shoes. If so, it’s almost admirable (if entirely frustrating) that you’re trying to pick up his slack. But, as I said before, you need to remember what got you here, what earned Doc Rivers’ trust in the first place.
For much of this season, you have shown a maturity to your game that was never evident before. You passed up decent shots so you could later take a better one. You swung the ball, trusted the offense, and knew the best way to score was in the framework of Doc’s schemes. You learned that the best way to thrive individually was to work in the context of your team. There was no deviating from the game plan, no lulls in your focus. You were a team player, entirely, and thus you started carving your name as a rising star (of sorts).
And then Garnett went down, and you were thrust into a new role. What you didn’t realize (don’t realize, really) is that your role remains the same. Provide energy, and score opportunistically. Make open jumpers, set solid screens, and roll to the hoop with authority. Rebound the basketball, take charges, and, please, I think I’ve said it before, rebound the basketball. There’s nothing new about your role, other than that you’re now starting and playing a few more minutes.
When I was a junior in high school, Glen, I put together a string of high-scoring games. I thought I was the man (“I just scored 21 points in a varsity game!”), and decided to venture outside the confines of my team’s offense. Rather than improving, I regressed. In thinking I could score even more points, I forgot about what allowed me to play such good basketball in the first place.
I just don’t want the same thing happening to you, Glen. You’re better than that. You’re better than this, this way you’ve been playing these past few games. Remember what got you here.