Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Glen Davis started his first season with the Orlando Magic in a fog. The four-year veteran, upset that he wasn't starting, didn't bring the same edge to the game he had in his prior years with the Boston Celtics, and it broke his jump shot. He struggled to fit adjust to his bench role, and his poor shot-selection only exacerbated his problems. In addition, he dealt with the deaths of his father and grandmother, as well as frequent booing from the Orlando faithful at Amway Center.
But then Davis settled in, found his niche, and started producing again. When a herniated disk in Dwight Howard's back forced the All-Star center to miss 12 of the team's final 14 games, and all of the postseason, Davis shifted from power forward to center full-time, and rewarded the faith the Magic showed in him when it signed him to a four-year contract in December.
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Blocks Per Game|
|Points Per 36||Rebounds Per 36||Blocks Per 36|
|PER||Rebound Rate||Block Rate|
All statistics in this table from Davis' player page at basketball-reference. Career-best statistics highlighted in gold; career-worst statistics highlighted in silver.
Not to get all Tim McCarver on you, but as bad as Davis was in the first few months of the season, he was just as good as it drew to a close, when Orlando needed him most. Davis scored a point every two minutes despite facing a severe height disadvantage in the postseason against the Indiana Pacers, and he maxed out his effort and energy. Davis, who won a championship during his Celtics days, didn't back down from Roy Hibbert and David West, instead continuing to attack Indy's bigs.
And in the regular season, Davis set new career-bests in per-minute scoring and rebounding, as well as in PER, despite never scoring less efficiently. Part of that problem is his jumper--never the strongest part of his offensive game--being horribly off the mark for much of the season. Moving Davis to center necessarily shifted him closer to the bucket, and cut down on those mid-range jacks. Long-term, he's more effective in the pivot than he is floating between the restricted circle and the top of the key.
Were it not for his late-season resurgence, Davis would have earned a
for his performance. But Davis delivered upon his move to center, and no one could ever question his heart. He's a fighter, a competitor, a warrior, and when one pairs those attributes with talent, one sees impressive results. As such, anything lower than a
wouldn't do the former LSU Tiger justice.