Glen Davis is shooting too much in Orlando.
That’s the sentiment of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who called out Davis after Orlando’s 103-85 win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday night. Davis made 2 of 10 shots from the field and drew criticism from his coach afterward.
“He’s not playing well, and I’m not sure his mind’s on the right things right now,” Van Gundy said. “What we need him to do is defend, which he has done pretty well, rebound better than he’s rebounding and move the ball and set screens.”
Van Gundy’s criticisms hardly qualify as news to most Celtics fans. Doc Rivers had some much-publicized trouble keeping Davis in line during his time with the Celtics. In 2010, Davis complained to the media about not knowing what his role was.
“No, I’m not even worried about Glen Davis,” Rivers said at the time. “I think he’s living up to [his Big Baby nickname] …Let me put it like this: If Baby doesn’t know his role by now, he’s going to be sitting down a lot.”
Davis didn’t sit much during his time in Boston, and in a couple of ways Rivers had no choice but to play Davis extended minutes. Injuries, including one to Kevin Garnett during the 2009 playoffs, vaulted Davis into the starting lineup. But Davis’s play in stretches also earned him time. In almost 30 minutes per game last season, Davis averaged career highs of 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds.
But with the good came the bad, including poor shot selection, with the video below being the most notorious example (you can see Rivers mouthing, “A three?” after a late-game attempt at one by Davis in 2010). About half of Davis’s shots came from outside of 12 feet or further last season, according to Van Gundy, but that number is more like 2/3 this season.
“I’ve seen the guy play very well,” said Van Gundy. “He’s a good player. He’s a smart guy. He should be able to figure it out. Sometimes it takes time.”
The player and the coach talked about the comments today, and they appear to be getting back on the same page.
“He can certainly get numbers,” said Van Gundy. “But a lot of what he does will never show up on the stat sheet: taking charges and diving on loose balls and setting screens and moving the ball and his team defense — things that are extremely important to your team winning games but will not get him a lot of media attention.”
Said Davis, “There is a temptation to do well. You see Brandon Bass, who’s doing great. You see Ryan Anderson, who’s doing great. And you just want to contribute. You want to do something, because you know you can. But sometimes putting a lot of pressure on yourself, it’s not good. You end up doing the opposite.”
Bass has done very well so far with the Celtics, averaging 14 points and 6.6 rebounds per game to Davis’s 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds. Bass is not shy himself, but he’s a more accomplished offensive player who — like it or not — commits to a move on the offensive end and carries it out. At this point, he fits in better with what the Celtics are trying to do.
Rivers always had a complicated relationship with Davis, but he refused to throw Davis under the bus on his way out. There’s a sense that Rivers likes Davis an awful lot and wants him to do well, though the coach’s comments on Bass are very telling.
“I like that he just plays hard,” said Rivers.”He’s low maintenance, just plays hard every night.”