No Longer in His Terrible Two's, Big Baby Becomes a Man

Bobby Ryan Jr.Correspondent IMay 14, 2009

BOSTON - MAY 02:  Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during warm ups before the game against the Chicago Bulls in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 2, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The say the second year of life for any baby, is known as the "terrible two's." Well, they surely weren't talking about the Boston Celtics Glen "Big Baby" Davis.

No Sophomore slump here, ladies and gentleman.

When the Boston Celtics traded Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak, and the fifth-pick overall in the 2007 draft, they in return received perennial All-Star Ray Allen and the 35th pick in the draft, from the Seattle Supersonics.

At the time, Ray Allen was the main piece. The 35th pick was considered nothing more than a throw in.

How wrong we all were.

The Celtics selected LSU's Glen "Big Baby" Davis with the pick. While he was drafted in the Second Round, Davis was possibly the most recognizable face in the draft, after Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.

Davis was a stud in the SEC. During his sophomore year at LSU, the conference coaches named Davis the SEC Player Of The Year and named him to the All SEC First Team. The national media voted him the College Player of the Year, the AP media voted him First Team All American and All NCAA Tournament Team.

Davis received his "Big Baby" moniker as a child. Bigger than the other kids, it forced him to play with the old kids on the football field. While he may have been the largest of the group, the toughest one his wasn't. He was a crier. Hence, the term "Big Baby."

Davis entered the NBA at 6'9" and a stout 285 pounds. He had to really focus on his conditioning and keeping his weight off.

He'll tell you himself that he loves to eat. Keeping the weight off hasn't been the easiest thing for Davis at all times. To do something he loves though, he has worked his hardest to keep it off.

While he is a big man, the guy is crazy agile. He has some of the best footwork of any big man in the NBA, regardless of size and weight. That can be credited to the Celtics "Big Man" coach, ex NBA great, Clifford Ray.

His rookie year in Boston was a solid year. Did he make the All Rookie First or Second Teams? No. Did he play for the Rookie Team in the All-Star Rookie/Sophomore Game? No.

So what. He was a contributor on a Championship team. That is better than both of those honors combined.

Davis played in 69 games for the Celtics last year, starting one. Davis had season averages of 4.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 0.4 apg and 0.4 bpg.

However, is impact and role as a key bench player for the Celtics, went way passed those numbers. He was usually the first big man off the bench, along with Leon Powe. He came in, gave 100 percent every game and did his job.

That hard work resulted in a championship ring for the rookie.

At the start of his sophomore season in the NBA, Davis was told he needed to get a 16-18 foot jump shot in his arsenal.

Enter Kevin Garnett.

It's pretty obvious to any one who has watched the Celtics during his time, how much Kevin Garnett has helped all the big men, in particular Davis. He has acquired some of KG's swagger and toughness. That people, is a good thing.

KG is known as one of the best shooting big men in NBA history. KG took Davis under his wing during and after practices. He told him what it would take for him to be a successful NBA player. To never be satisfied. To work harder than his opponents.

Because of this, Davis spent countless hours perfecting his jumper. In the beginning of the season, he shot it, but not with the confidence one should shoot with.

That all changed at some point of the season. Now, there is no hesitation. He shoots it with the utmost confidence. He expects it to go in.

All that hard work paid off Sunday night in Orlando. With less than two seconds left, Davis caught a Paul Pierce pass on the left elbow. He stepped into his favorite part of the court and buried the 20 foot jumper as the game clock expired.

The shot saved the Celtics season and tied the series at two games a piece.

While that may have been the peak of Davis' career and season thus far, the change from his Rookie season to this season as been superb.

There was a low point of this season however.

On Dec. 5, vs the Portland Trailblazers, Big Baby reached his low of lows. Never one to hide his emotions, for good or for bad, Davis broke down during a timeout in the fourth quarter.

The Celtics had been blowing the Blazers out. Feeling the game was in hand, Doc Rivers pulled his starters out. The bench came in and proceeded to stink up the joint. They were just awful. No defense. No Offense. No hunger. No heart. No nothing.

During the time out, Garnett ripped into the bench players. He was yelling at the bench as a whole, at no one in particular. Davis took it to heart though and began crying on national television. It got to the point where Sam Cassell had to give Davis a towel to cover his face and wipe his tears.

Some players wouldn't be able to recover from that and the respect in which they would have lost from their teammates. Davis isn't one of those players. Not only did he recover, he shined.

When the Celtics lost Kevin Garnett on February 19, to a strained right knee, no one expected a second year Davis to step into KG's role. Not only has he stepped in, but he has done one hell of a job.

To replace an NBA great, in your second season, has to be one of the scariest things a player could go through. Let alone on a team that is expected to win a title.

In his second year with the Celtics, Davis ended the season with averages of 7.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.9 apg and 0.2 bpg. Numbers better than his rookie year, but numbers that pale into comparison to his numbers while Garnett has been in a suit.

During the time the Garnett has been out, Davis' averages have sky rocketed. He's been putting in work at a clip of 13.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 apg and 0.7 bpg. Numbers the are much higher than his season averages.

In the playoffs, his numbers have been even better. He has averages of 16.8 ppg,6.1 rpg, 1.9 apg and 0.7 bpg.

In some sense, Davis has been the Celtics most consistent player in the Playoffs, along with Kendrick Perkins. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo have all had their individual moments, no doubt. But Davis has been a solid contributor, game in and game out.

Whether it was covering his best friend Tyrus Thomas in the Chicago series or covering the way more athletic Rashard Lewis in the current series vs Orlando or banging down low against the much bigger and quicker Dwight Howard, he hasn't backed down once.

He has rose to every challenge put in front of him. If the Celtics are lucky enough to advance to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals, I fully expect Davis to shine on that stage too.

Davis' hard work isn't going to go unrewarded either. Davis is entering free agency in the off season. He will get a nicely deserved pay raise. I just hope the signature on the bottom of the check is that of Wyc Grousbeck, the Celtics owner.


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