In December of 2011, in a last ditch attempt to make their franchise player happy in the wake of a disappointing playoff run and prolonged lockout, the Orlando Magic decided to sign Glen “Big Baby” Davis away from the Boston Celtics. The motives were simple – the Magic needed a power forward that could space the floor, Davis’ defensive credentials with the C’s were respected, and center Dwight Howard really, really liked the guy. As it turned out, Davis didn’t exactly move the needle much in Orlando, Howard pouted and outright lied over and over again as 2011-12 moved along, and the eventual new front office in Orlando was stuck with Davis for over $6 million a year until 2015.
After two rebuilding seasons post-Dwight, the Magic and Davis decided to part ways, with Glen parting ways with some of the money he was promised by the team back in 2011. He’s signing with the Los Angeles Clippers now, reuniting with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers, as the all-in Clippers set to steel themselves for the first real potential championship run in franchise history.
Davis is famously undersized in terms of height, but he’ll supply the Clippers with needed moving frontcourt feet on the defensive end. He can be taken advantage of in the low post at times, but he’ll also use his significant clout to bang and push potential low post scorers off of the blocks. Rare is the player that can act as both a defensive liability and asset on the same night, but that’s Glen Davis for you. He’s got a goofy game.
He also likes to shoot. A lot. To varying degrees of success:
The Magic ran what could be considered, for a rebuilding team looking to develop players, a shocking amount of sets designed around Davis’ propensity for firing up midrange jumpers. It seemed wildly out of place for a team looking towards the future as it slowly and uneasily attempts to distance itself from the Dwight Howard era (without the benefit of a lottery pick heading into 2012-13, and with just a high lottery pick in the lamentable 2013 NBA draft). This is why the 28-year old Davis was saddled with trade rumors throughout his final season and a half with the team, and why both sides were quick to work on a separation agreement despite Glen ostensibly working in his prime.
Davis will not be allowed such freedoms in Los Angeles, despite the sympathetic ear of coach Rivers. What he will be asked to do is sop up the minutes that previous fringe frontcourt entries (Ryan Hollins, Stephen Jackson, Antawn Jamison, and Hedo Turkoglu) could not. He’ll play less than half the game (after averaging over 12 points and six boards in 30 minutes a night with the Magic), he’ll be able to pick up Los Angeles’ defensive schemes on the fly, and he’ll truly come straight out of central casting.
Even if, as we know, there really isn’t another NBA player like Glen “Big Baby” Davis. It’ll be nice for that knowledge to hit the nationally televised stage for the first time in a few years, between now and spring.
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