He Played Well, But He has Got To Go: Glen "Big Baby" Davis
I am going to preface this article by saying that I thought Glen Davis played admirably towards the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. Missing both KG and Leon Powe, the Celtics needed Davis more than ever, and he came through. Playing over 36 minutes per game in the playoffs, Davis averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds for the Celtics.
I am not going to argue that he did not produce while he played big minutes; Big Baby played very well. He gave the Celtics inside scoring, a nice shooting touch from 15-17 feet, and energetic defense. I appreciate how much he improved in the offseason and the dedication he showed to develop that mid-range jumper and stay in semi-decent shape.
Despite everything I acknowledge in the first two paragraphs, the Celtics SHOULD NOT RE-SIGN BIG BABY!
First off, signing Big Baby would be far too expensive. While the Celtics still have their full mid-level exception to use this year, Doc has contended that they are looking for a center, a small forward and a point guard in this year's offseason. That means signing Big Baby, who will command about five million per year on the market, would cost $10 million per year because the Celtics are already over the NBA's salary cap and would have to pay the luxury tax.
Though Big Baby played great, re-signing him would fail to address the Celtics' needs. Whereas this year we needed Big Baby's scoring prowess in the lineup, next year they won't need as much scoring. Kevin Garnett will be back in the lineup, and Big Baby, or whoever his replacement will be, will be coming off the bench.
Due to Garnett's return, the Celtics will need their backup power forward to be more of a role player than a scorer. In a perfect world, the Celtics could sign somebody like P.J. Brown, a veteran big man who would provide toughness, interior defense, rebounding, and length.
While Big Baby played great for us this year, and is still young, he has certain deficiencies that I feel will keep him from ever getting much better. First of all, he is an undersized, overweight player. Because of his size, he cannot matchup very well with a lot of the taller players in the league. While Big Baby does a decent job with a player like Dwight Howard, who doesn't have much offensive ability, he really struggles to guard tall players with touch, like Yao Ming or Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
Big Baby is an incredibly agile man for somebody his weight but still a below-average athlete in the NBA. Even in the Orlando Magic series, when he was not hitting game-winning jumpers he was busy getting torched by Rashard Lewis. Lewis could go by Big Baby more or less whenever he chose to, because Big Baby didn't have the foot speed to match up.
In addition to being a far less than versatile defender, Big Baby does not rebound very well. For a power forward, averaging five rebounds per game while playing over 35 minutes is shameful.
Offensively, Big Baby does not make many plays happen. He is an opportune finisher and capitalizes on other player's plays, but he does not make plays on his own. Just look at his game-winner against the Magic. Big Baby needed Paul Pierce to draw a double team in order for him to be able to hit that shot. Most of his points come that way. He scores because other teams neglect to cover him, focusing more of their attention on his better, more talented teammates.
Looking forward, the Celtics would be better off letting Big Baby loose. The amount of money they would have to pay to keep him around as a backup power forward is far more than they should be willing to spend. He stepped up for the Celtics this year, but I think the Celtics should get rid of him and go another way for next year. It is too bad if we have to let Big Baby go, but I guess that is just part of the business.
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