Ball Don't Lie - NBA


If today seems the polar opposite of my initial reactions to the free agency frenzy from last Wednesday, well, it's because it is.

Things are a little cheerier. And, as my girlfriend pointed out sometime this weekend, "you can catch these stupid fruit flies with a bowl full of vinegar, but you and your brother need to stop leaving half-drunk Schlitz bottles lying around. They love them."

Next up, to half drink a Schlitz? Glen Davis in San Antonio. How great would that be?

Davis completely turned his season around last year. A few months into 2008-09, the guy was absolutely destroying Boston's chances at both ends by firing up missed jumpers, whiffing on defensive rotations, and failing to commit to the defensive glass.

Now, the final aspect of that piss-poor triptych didn't go away. The guy was getting killed on the glass up to Boston's final seven game turn against the Orlando Magic (which, while we're at it, feels like it took place in 1947).

But his defense improved, and his jump shot really came around. Which, while we're quoting family members, progressed to a point where my father was yelling "you can't leave this guy!" at the TV and the Orlando Magic well before Davis hit this shot to beat the Magic. One would suspect my father had a minor investment in Orlando's pro basketball outfit, but the truth is he really just invested in proper pick and roll defense decades ago, and that's a hard thing to divest yourself of.

Now, Zach Lowe went into Davis' improvement in greater detail in this post as the regular season wrapped up, and you'll have to believe me when I tell you that I'm not linking to the post because he writes nice things about me. I'm linking to it because it discusses how average Davis was, over the final 60 percent of the regular season. This is significant, because the man was really poor for the first chunk of 2008-09.

Not the worst thing in the world, for a second round pick in his second season, but worth pointing out. And, for a second round pick in his second season, well worth pointing out as he improved to the ranks of average.

And, while you might not like me seemingly underrating the guy as "average," understand that he really was just that. Because the sheer amount of minutes he took in down the stretch of Boston's season, and the playoff heroics, you're likely overrating him. Don't. The man averaged about 16 points and five and a half rebounds in 36.4 minutes per game during the playoffs. For those minutes, with those few rebounds, that rounds down to average.

Then, armed with this information, don't get down on the guy. Even dismissing the "second round pick" background, a 23-year old power forward working at about average at this point in his career is a fine thing to have. And considering that the San Antonio Spurs are about to sign him to a contract that approximates the league's average salary, then you have to be happy that a great team is likely to get fantastic value in Glen Davis(notes).

So, he can't rebound. This is why Dave Berri can't stand him, and that's entirely fair. To call his board-work "Curry-esque" would be a bit of a slam sent Eddy's way.

Davis pulled in 9.2 percent of all available rebounds during the playoffs, passable for a roster that was solid on the boards during the postseason, but a mark that would have ranked below Grant Hill's(notes) regular season percentage had he strung that together during the initial 82. And Davis' 11.2 percentage during that initial 82 was worse than Carmelo Anthony's(notes) tally.

His defense? It needs work. It'll frustrate the Spurs. But the effort was there. He's not unlike Drew Gooden(notes), in that aspect, as he'll space out and wander from the scripted defensive game plan sometimes. But the Spurs knew this when they went out and signed Gooden last year, and while Drew isn't exactly coming back to San Antonio for 2009-10, his mitigating factors were ably dealt with by a team that knows exactly what it's doing.

The "average" player will only get better, from here on out. Turning into an above-average player with an average contract, on San Antonio's dime.

Toss in the fact that rookie DeJuan Blair(notes) seems to be a Reggie Evans(notes)-type right out of the gate, and you have a Spurs team with scads of options and all sorts of talent. And here's the part where I'm legally required to type "if healthy."

To me, the biggest question regarding Davis' potential trip to San Antonio for the MLE regards Boston's designs.

Do they match? C's owner Wyc Grousbeck has been willing to pay the luxury tax for a winner, and despite falling short to Orlando last spring, Davis helps this team win. I know adding Rasheed Wallace(notes) helps with the interior depth, but Rasheed really hasn't been much for points in the paint since about 2005 or so. Davis can score among the trees. He's not a tree, himself, but he does well moving into the tree-less spaces.

As a general fan, it seems like a win-win. In a day full of good news, let's add Glen Davis to the mix.

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