Big Problems With Big Baby: A Celtics Fan's Reluctant Realization

Keith TestaCorrespondent INovember 9, 2009

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28:  Derrick Brown #4 of the Charlotte Bobcats fights for a loose ball with Shelden Williams #13 of the  Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 28, 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

I’ve been biting my tongue for the better part of two seasons—primarily because he’s had flashes of brilliance, including perhaps the most clutch shot delivered during the Celtics playoff run last spring, but also because you never like to admit you’ve lost rooting interest in a player on your favorite team.

But the time has come for a declaration: I’ve had enough of Big Baby Davis.

The Celtics, I’m sure, are approaching the same level of concern, a particularly perplexing position to be in, given that he hasn’t yet played a game after receiving a contract extension in the off—season.

The chronicle of Davis’ broken thumb, an injury suffered in a playful dust—up with an old college friend, has been widely reported, and is certainly the source of a great deal of frustration. But a recent report from ESPN, that Davis would eventually like to pursue a career in the NFL, is what officially sent me over the edge.

In it, Davis declares his interest in pro football, stating “I will try it.” But it’s the following comment that caught my attention.

“When I become an All-Star in the NBA, when I become a great player in the NBA, then I’ll try football.”

So I’ll go ahead and pencil that in for…never.

Big Baby is never going to be a great player in the NBA. In fact, I think he realized most of his potential last season, as a capable starting forward with solid range and a knack for rebounding. And there’s certainly no shame in that. Players with that type of skill set will always have a home on an NBA roster. But the ceiling, I believe, has already been reached.

The bigger problem is Davis’ skewed perception of his own abilities and worth. He went into last off—season expecting to cash in and found 29 other teams trying desperately not to make eye contact. When you expect a mad rush for your services and instead hear nothing but crickets, it’s time to re—evaluate.

There were numerous reports that Davis fell in love with his starting role after Kevin Garnett suffered a knee injury last winter, and Davis no doubt had convinced himself he was on the fast track to superstardom.

The problem is that the biggest impediment remains his own 300—pound frame. There were serious issues regarding his maturity before he cracked his thumb on his buddy’s noggin. After that fiasco and his recent admission regarding his NFL dreams, one really has to wonder what’s going on in his head.

Davis has proven time and time again, that he’s little more than a spoiled youngster incapable of handling the notoriety he’s received. He is an arrogant dude convinced he’s the answer to any team’s problems when in reality he’s been the cause.

What’s frustrating to me is that were it not for a twist of fate from the basketball Gods, we might all be spared this soap opera. If Leon Powe hadn’t suffered a significant knee injury last season, he may be back on the roster. And with Davis out, he would no doubt finally have usurped Davis on the depth chart.

Why Davis played more than Powe was always a mystery to me anyway. Davis is undeniably a better shooter, but nobody on the team matched Powe’s hunger and determination. He was the perfect sixth or seventh man—tenacious, selfless and driven.

He also happens to be a great person. One can’t help but consider that Powe raised his own siblings in the absence of a better familial situation, spent a stretch of his life homeless, and essentially built himself into a proud and sturdy man, while Davis continues to embody his adolescent nickname with an entitled, cocky swagger.

Their games may resemble each other. But the similarities end there.

On the positive side, Davis’ absence this year has opened the door for Shelden Williams, who has thus far proven to be a serviceable reserve forward. Williams, of course, has yet to realize his first-round expectations, but he is a steady mid-range shooter who will grab you six or eight boards a night.

Without so much as a peep.

Williams has fit in perfectly with Boston’s talented second unit, and the longer that chemistry develops and the longer Davis sits on the shelf, the more difficult it will be for Davis to carve out minutes when he returns.

So perhaps Davis will never be more than the 10th or 11th man, playing mop up minutes in blowouts. I’ve tried to deny that I feel this way about it, but I no longer can: That’s precisely the scenario I’m rooting for.

Give me a bench full of Powes and Williamses any day of the week. You can keep your Big Babies.

Good luck on the gridiron, Glen. Just remember one thing before you decide to bungee jump off the Zakim Bridge with your buddies on the night before Week 1.

The contracts in the NFL aren’t guaranteed.

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