Big Baby Becomes a Man

1194898506It was a proud day for Boston Daily, and our favorite Celtic, as noted thespian Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis took his turn in the starting lineup for an ailing Kendrick Perkins. (Quick aside: Who among us didn’t fondly remember Pervis Ellison when word came down that Perkins was out because his bed attacked him?)

Big Baby was all over the floor last night as the Celtics gutted out yet another ugly win, this time against the Kings. Davis had 16 points and nine boards, was money from the free throw line, and was generally a gigantic pain in the neck for Sacramento with his effort. He even finished a couple of times in the lane. He just needed to remember to breathe.

When told of his starting assignment, the young fella was understandably excited. Very excited.

“Baby was good, you know, after hyperventilating through the first half,” [Doc Rivers] said. “I thought he was going to die after the first six minutes of the game. After he gathered himself, he was terrific.”

Quoth Davis:

“It was a dream come true to start in the NBA. Unbelievable. I was thinking in my head, ‘Calm down, big fella. Calm down.’ I couldn’t breathe. I had to come back and play my game. It was awesome.”

The Celtics needed his energy last night as Perkins and Scot Pollard were both out with injuries. And when Kevin Garnett got 3 quick fouls in the first half, that meant extended time for Brian Scalabrine. Adding to the C’s dilemmas, Rajon Rondo was not on speaking terms with his wayward jump shot.

But they still won. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, that is the most impressive thing about this team. They win games they otherwise shouldn’t.

And Big Baby has played a, ahem, large part in that success. Like most NBA fans we love John Hollinger’s statistical analysis on ESPN. If you’re not familiar with Hollinger, consider him the Bill James of basketball although the comparison is not fair to either. Among Hollinger’s many contributions is the creation of the Player Efficiency Rate, or PER. (You can read the breakdown of what it means, and how it is calculated, here.)

Suffice it to say, PER attempts to provide a basis of player-comparison in a league where stats are dependent on minutes played. On that note, Hollinger has Big Baby as his top rookie, by a pretty wide margin, based on PER. Better than Al Horford, better than Yi Jianlin, and yes, better than Kevin Durant.

When we decided to keep an eye on Big Baby we had no idea the kid would be even close to being this much of a contributor. We figured he might get some extended garbage time, and every once in a while, give the C’s a strong 6 minutes when someone got into foul trouble. Little did we know.