Lob City Questions: Why is Glen Davis still in the rotation?


This may sound crazy, but in 2014, Glen “Big Baby” Davis is tasked with playing a key role on a “championship contender”. No, really. It’s happening because Doc Rivers wants it to happen (for the 2nd year in a row) and the experiment has been as bad as your mind is telling you it could be.

The ideal role player is [at least] good at something, whether it be rebounding, three-shooting, passing, scoring, or whatever skill you’d like to pinpoint. At one point in his career, Davis used to fill his role-player quota with mid-range shooting.

In 2008-09, Davis shot 39.3% from mid-range. In 2010-11, Davis shot 37.9% from mid-range. Last season, Davis shot 41.1% from mid-range. Combine that shooting with some defensive effort (he’s not particularly good, but he tries and is big enough to take up a lot of space) and you’ve a decent role player. Now all you have is a player who gives some effort on defense — Davis is shooting 23.5% from mid-range and is killing the Clippers offense when on the floor.


In the 924 minutes Davis has been off the floor, the Clippers have scored 112.9 points per 100 possessions. In the 185 minutes Davis has been on the floor? The Clippers have scored 96.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s the statistical equivalent of being as good as the Dallas Mavericks, the best in the league on offense, to being as bad as the Detroit Pistons on offense, the second worst in the league ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers.

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  • Glen Davis isn’t a good enough player to sacrifice this type of swing without increasing a particular facet of the game tremendously. Davis isn’t alone as Hawes presence on the floor is coupled with a decline in major categories across the board. The difference between Hawes and Davis is the upside that comes with Hawes. Several times this season we’ve seen flashes where Hawes’ presence impacts the offense at levels expected when he and the Clippers agreed on a deal, whether it be his three-shooting or gravity which pulls defenders away from other impact players. Davis doesn’t have this… at all.

    The alternative for less Davis?

    Based on Rivers’ current rotations, Turkoglu should be first in line to surpass Davis. At the most, Hedo provides floor-spacing, secondary ball-handling, and playmaking, three things Davis is unable to do.

    After Turkoglu, Ekpe Udoh comes to mind. It’s unclear why Udoh hasn’t been used more this season. His one definitive skill? Rim protection. The Clippers second biggest need? Rim protection. DeAndre Jordan is good, but he’s inconsistent and can’t play 48 minutes a night. The minutes Jordan is out, Hawes is in, meaning the need for a rim protector increases more yet, somehow, Udoh has managed to play only 33 minutes this season, with most of those 33 minutes coming in garbage time.

    Offensively speaking, Udoh isn’t going to give you much outside of dunks and close-range layups, but you can make up for that by pairing him with shooters and Hawes/Griffin. In return, you add a much-needed rim protector for the few minutes DeAndre Jordan is resting or sitting with fouls.

    We’ve seen situations such as this before where coaches can’t let go of a role player for whatever reason, the most recent and notable being Kendrick Perkins and Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City. This is that times ten because unlike Perkins, Davis isn’t good at anything. The Boston connection is the only thing keeping Davis in the rotation, and possibly the NBA.

    There is a sliver of hope gleaming through the murky cracks of Doc Rivers thought process. This same instance occurred last year when Rivers couldn’t get over a brief and fascinating knack for playing Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens in key roles. At the trade deadline those two were shipped out for help, that help eventually being Davis which says a lot about where Jamison and Mullens.

    Hopefully Doc can see the error in his ways before it’s too late.  If not, we could be looking at another 2nd round exit due to personnel mismanagement.

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