Big Baby “Getting It”
Glen “Big Baby” Davis’s struggles have been well-documented. There’s no way to sugarcoat it – Davis has been flat out awful this season.
He’s averaging 7.5 points per game on 38.3% shooting from the field and is grabbing 4.6 rebounds per game (Davis averaged 11.7 points per game on 44.8% shooting last season).
Despite the death of both Davis’s father and grandmother and his two-game suspension, he has not made any excuses for his play.
Instead he’s acknowledged his poor play and vowed to fix whatever’s wrong.
Although Davis still has a long a way to go, he appears to be in a better state of mind when he speaks with reporters and has certainly picked up his play.
“It’s been a long time coming to feel like that in a game where I feel like I’m doing something right for a change,” Davis said following Orlando’s 103-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.
In that game, Davis scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, his best performance since he had 20 points and eight rebounds in a win over the Sacramento Kings on January 8.
“As an individual, today the basketball gods gave me a little gift, so hopefully we can keep building,” Davis told reporters.
Throughout Davis’s rough season, his teammates haven’t lost faith in him.
“Obviously, it takes time in general just to get used to a system,” Ryan Anderson explained. “For me, it took a while to get used to Stan’s system here.”
“I think he’s playing a lot better,” Stan Van Gundy added.
When Davis was dealt to the Magic just before the start of the season in a sign-and-trade, he envisioned himself as a start or at least a guy who plays starter’s minutes. Davis played 29.5 minutes per game for the Boston Celtics last season and is playing just 21.6 minutes per game this season.
“I’ve been in a position where all I’ve needed to do was just play hard and that’s what they need me to do here,” Davis explained. “”Instead of worrying about things, just worry about what I need to do here instead of worrying about things, just worry about what I need to do to the maximum of my ability on this team and everything will take of itself.”
Not only is Davis’s play slowly improving, he looks like he’s having fun on the court again – you can catch him singing along to songs like Baby by Justin Beiber and Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, songs that are played when Davis scores.
“For Glen, you obviously add in all that other stuff and I’m just happy he’s having a good time,” Anderson told reporters. “He’s playing hard, doing the things that he knows he can do and he’s doing them well.”
“I hope this is something that sparks in him because this is how he can play and know that.”
Marcin Gortat Returns, Praises Dwight Howard
Marcin Gortat, who was traded by the Orlando Magic to the Phoenix Suns in December of 2010, returned to the Amway Center for the first time since being dealt on Wednesday.
It wasn’t the memorable night Gortat would have liked – he scored four points on 1-of-7 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
“He (Dwight Howard) basically destroyed me and the whole team,” Gortat told reporters.
On the season, Gortat has averaged 15.7 points and 10.0 rebounds per game but couldn’t get anything going against his former teammate.
“He is just way more skilled now,” Gortat explained. “He is patient with everything he does. He is reading the defense better. He has definitely improved his game and there is not much else you can say.”
After the game, Gortat’s former teammates expressed their happiness for Gortat because of the individual success he’s had this season while Gortat thanked the Magic organization.
“I grew up here as a player and I appreciate the whole organization and the whole team for everything that they did for,” Gortat told reporters. “Obviously coach Stan [Van Gundy] gave me the right knowledge and Coach [Brendan] Malone sacrificed four years of teach me and working with me.”
“It was a great experience and now I am with a different team and looking forward. I want to play well here and become a better player,” Gortat added.
News & Notes:
- Despite Ryan Anderson’s 29-point effort against the Suns Wednesday night, Van Gundy again expressed his unhappiness with his defense and rebounding.
- Van Gundy told reporters that Jason Richardson, who has really struggled, is healthy and “he’s just playing very poorly.” Richardson was held scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting in the victory Wednesday night.
- The Magic will host rookie Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night. Irving is the obvious front runner for Rookie of the Year – he’s averaging 19.0 points per game 47.4% shooting from the field. He’s also shooting 40.5% from beyond the arc.
- The Magic are 45-37 all-time against Cleveland and defeated them 102-94 on February 3.
(Andrew Melnick is the ESPNFlorida.com Magic and NBA Insider, co-host of the ESPN 1080 Insiders Show and publisher of Howard the Dunk. The Insiders Show can be heard Sunday mornings at 10:00 am EST on AM 1080 in Orlando and on ESPNFlorida.com. You can follow Andrew on twitter here.)