The Celtics lost 83-81 to the Hornets at the TD Garden, and Davis did not play well, scoring just eight points with four rebounds and two turnovers. He also bricked an ill-advised 3-pointer in the closing minutes.
But one game doesn't make a season. Despite the forgettable performance, Davis is having his best pro campaign and should win the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
Every year since the 1982-83 season, one player in the NBA has been honored with the Sixth Man of the Year Award. This individual award is given to the best bench player or substitute to any team’s regular starting five lineup. "Big Baby" has been that man in the 2010-11 season.
People can certainly make cases for other players like Jamal Crawford or Jason Terry, but despite the success of these players and others, Davis should still be the winner, even if he’s not the most popular choice.
The 6-foot-9 power forward out of Louisiana State is in his fourth season with the Boston Celtics and has been progressing each year. Even though it’s not the halfway point of this campaign, Davis already has proven that he deserves to win the sixth man award.
He's averaging 12 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, and he has played significantly better as the Celtics have gone further into the regular season. In November, Davis was frequently turning in six- and eight-point performances, but he consistently scored upward of 15 points per game in December.
Consider Davis' single-digit contribution on Dec. 31 – his third-lowest point total of the month — an aberration. By attempting to do too much to fill the KG void, he ended up doing more damage than good against New Orleans. However, prior to that effort, he had been one of Boston's top producers.
Davis is averaging nearly 30 minutes per game this season, almost double the court time he saw per game last year. He has been a reliable player, and Doc Rivers has been able to use him to fill the gaps when players such as Garnett have been injured.
Davis has a 47 percent field-goal percentage, and he also makes about 80 percent of his free throws. However, Big Baby also contributes to the team in ways that don’t show up in the box score. He brings energy to the team and takes advantage of every minute he is on the court. A player that consistently looks hungry for a win, his on-court attitude is refreshing. There is truth in all of the cliches that say it’s all about attitude.
Davis has a talent for generating offensive opportunities. He creates more possessions for the Celtics’ offense through steals, blocks and, most commonly, drawing charges. By sacrificing his own body for his team, Davis shows the selfless player that he is.
While Davis may not have the most points per game, the highest shooting percentage from the field or the most assists, he is the best sixth man because of a number of intangibles and, most importantly, his ability to help the Celtics get wins.
Expect Davis to bounce back from the loss to the Hornets and hold down the fort in Garnett's absence. Once the Big Ticket returns to the starting lineup, Davis will be back to his old, effective ways as the first player off the Celtics' bench.
Who should be the sixth man of the year? Share your thoughts below.