When you're a kid, you grow up believing in your mother and father as one rock-solid coalition of parenting. They're not two individual people — they're your parents. They raise you together, and they never disagree on anything.
It's only a matter of time before that illusion shatters.
Maybe with Glen Davis, that time is now. Not with his actual parents, but with his basketball ones.
Together, Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge have been the guiding forces welcoming Davis into the NBA over the last four years. They've turned their Big Baby into a big man, and they've taken him from his humble beginnings as a second-round draft pick to where he is now, as he's about to enter a major turning point in his pro career. Now a free agent, his future with or without the Celtics is very much in doubt.
And his two mentors, Doc and Danny, are sending him mixed signals.
First Doc went on the radio just days after the Celtics' playoff run ended in Miami, and he had a few unkind words to say about the mental side of Davis' game.
"I thought it was more in between his ears than his play," the coach said. "I thought the whole contract thing affected his play. I thought he had the wrong focus at times because of that. I think when you stray away from just being a team player and being the role that you're given, I think you struggle. I think all players do. And I thought Baby did that. I thought scoring was way too important to him, instead of being who he is."
It sounded as though Rivers had had enough of the young, immature sixth man. It sounded like he had closure and was ready to move on.
"I think there's a lot of mistakes made on players who play well in a playoff series and players who play poorly in a playoff series," the Celtics' exec said at his exit interview after the Miami loss. "I've seen a lot of teams make mistakes over the years based on that kind of performance."
Translation: The Celtics aren't ready to give up on Big Baby simply because he had a bad postseason.
Granted, Baby's playoff performance was extremely bad. He scored more than six points only once in nine postseason games; in the Miami series, he shot a dreadful 7-of-22, and Doc went away from him late in the series, leaning more on Jeff Green instead.
But Ainge has a point. Nine games is nothing in the grand scheme of things. It would be silly for the Celtics, who have nurtured Davis for four years, to make a snap judgment based on nine games. They know him way too well to fall into that trap.
They know who Davis is. He's an undersized, energetic, emotional, confident, flashy but inconsistent player who will occasionally spark them in a sixth-man role. He'll never be an All-Star, but he will be a double-digit scorer without ever needing a play called for him. That's saying something. Davis said after losing to Miami earlier this month that he wants to be a player in this league. Surely, he'll get his wish.
Davis may stay in Boston, or he may not. But the Celtics have to make the kid an offer. They can't just let him walk away without a fight.
This is the key to the C's entire offseason. If they keep Davis, they can retool their bench on the cheap, building around one of the game's best sixth men; if they end up letting him walk, then it'll be an arduous process to rebuild their second unit.
One way or another, the Celtics have to make up their minds and decide how they really feel about Glen Davis. Their offseason hangs in the balance.
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