DAVIS: ‘BEING ON THIS TEAM IS FRESH ENERGY’
NEW ORLEANS – Glen “Big Baby” Davis had only been with the Clippers for a few minutes Monday morning, but even then it was clear how much he could help them in their drive toward the Playoffs.
Davis, who mutually agreed to a contract buyout with the Orlando Magic on Friday, signed with the Clippers after clearing waivers. He joined the team in New Orleans for the final game of their three-game road trip and took part in the morning meeting to prepare for the Pelicans, eating breakfast with his new teammates. He will wear jersey No. 12 on Monday and likely switch to No. 0, his number at LSU, when the team returns home.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Davis said. “It really hasn’t dawned on me. Everything’s happened so fast. Today was my first day of just really eating breakfast with the guys. It’s my first experience of bringing back old memories, especially with Doc [Rivers] and Armond Hill and [Tyronn Lue] and Kevin Eastman. They’re a great group of guys and I won a championship with them, so we have a bond.”
Davis, 28, played the first four seasons of his career in Boston with Rivers and a number of the Clippers assistants that he named. He won a title in 2008 as a rookie and was an integral part of the team’s run to the Finals in 2010.
He’s appeared in 69 postseason games, including five with the Magic two seasons ago. He started 14 games for the Celtics in the 2009 Playoffs place of Kevin Garnett (knee), averaging 15.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and shooting 49.1 percent from the floor. He hit the biggest shot of the postseason as well, nailing a jumper off a pick-and-roll feed from Paul Pierce at the buzzer to give Boston a 95-94 victory over Orlando in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Getting back to the postseason after missing out in 2012-13 and having a chance to win a second title is something that weighed heavily in Davis’ decision to join the Clippers (38-20) instead of other potential suitors.
“I’ve always made the Playoffs in my career and not playing for something was crazy,” Davis said. “Being on this team is some fresh energy, knowing that you can help a team win a championship is important. It feels good.”
And he should make an impact right away. He knows Rivers’ system. He is a willing and rugged post defender, and while Davis is not ideal in terms of height, he has the rebounding ability and toughness to play center or power forward.
“It gives us another big,” Rivers said. “What I like about a guy like that is he can play the 5 or the 4. He knows my system.”
He could be valuable as a pick-and-pop player with Chris Paul, playing alongside Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan. He also can provide offensive balance. In 2010-11, Davis scored 22.4 percent of his points in spot up situations and 22.1 percent on post ups, according to Synergy Sports.
“It’s awesome, especially for me being a guy who sets screens and gets guys open,” Davis said of Paul. “He finds them. That is just awesome. It makes it so much easier for me, having a guy who can find me. It kind of gives me an advantage.”
In Davis’ final season with the Celtics he shot 36.1 percent from 16-24 feet, taking 321 field goals from that distance. Davis was most deadly that season from 10-14 feet, shooting 45.2 percent.
"With us [in Boston], we had Perk [Kendrick Perkins] and we had Kevin Garnett [inside]," Rivers said when the Clippers visited Orlando in November. "We needed a guy to stretch the floor. And so we really worked with him [Davis] and asked him to do that. He did that for the good of the team and it was important for us."
Of course, Davis also provides an emotional lift.
“He always plays hard,” Jamal Crawford said. “He wears his emotions on his sleeve. Obviously, being with Doc before helps. There is not an adjustment there. He knows what to expect every single night.
“There are things he’ll be able to tell, being with Doc before. He’ll be like, ‘No, no, you can go that way or that way.’ I think that could help tremendously.”
“What Doc wants is for you to play hard and play the right way, give yourself up for the next guy,” Davis said. “That was embedded in my brain as a rookie and my four years playing with him. That’s just a part of my game. The think he noticed it and asked me to come along.”