Big Baby's focus this year: Ubunt-me, not ubuntu

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Big Baby's focus this year: Ubunt-me, not ubuntu

By Jimmy Toscano
CSNNE.com

Doc Rivers and Glen Davis have always had one of those "tough love" relationships.

Davis has made his fair share of mistakes over the first four years of his career and some of them have come at not just the expense of himself, but of the Celtics, too.

Rivers has never been shy to call him out on them. But he always gave him another chance, while acknowledging that Davis is being forced to grow up in front of all of us. It's tough to do.

It also made it easier to forgive Davis when he contributed in the way the Celtics needed him to -- as the sixth man, providing defense, hustle, and energy.

Davis went 0-for-3 in those categories towards the end of the regular season and into the playoffs, deciding to focus more on "Ubunt-me" than Ubuntu.

"To me, I thought it was more in between his ears than his play," Rivers said on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Morning Show on Monday. "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 . . . the role that youre given, I think you struggle. I think all players do. And I thought Baby did that."

Rivers attributed Davis' lack of production to the fact that he was trying too hard to fill the stat sheet with numbers, and eventually his pockets with cash, by scoring more.

Except all he was doing was forcing shots, not being physical enough down low, and most importantly not being dependable down the stretch.

"I thought scoring was way too important to him, instead of being who he is," Rivers said. "Babys never going to be a great scorer in our league, but he can score. What Baby has to be is an energy player, a guy who takes charges. When you look at his charge numbers from the first 40 games and then the last 40, theyre cut down, he got very few of them."

Perhaps Davis goes to bed every night and dreams of that game-winning jumper he hit a few years back in the playoffs against Orlando. That year Kevin Garnett went down, and Davis stepped in for him and did a commendable job, starting all 14 games in the playoffs and averaging almost 16 points.

He thought he could cash in off that success going into the offseason as a restricted free agent. But the offers didn't come -- and Davis came back to the C's on a two-year deal with his tail between his legs.

That playoff success didn't come this season, and it's probably due to the fact that he wanted it too badly.

"Weve got to get him back in the right frame of mind," Rivers said. "Babys a good basketball player. He can help us or any other team. But, to me, only if he plays the right way."

But Davis, who Rivers guessed had gained weight during the season, already has his eyes set on any other team that will allow him to "showcase his talents" as a starter. That opportunity is not presently an option on the Celtics, and doesn't look like it will be.

Still, Rivers, as he's done over the past four seasons, would welcome Davis back.

"Yeah, if we can get him for the right price," he said. "I think it would be nice, but we cant overpay."

If Davis doesn't change, he could be the one paying.

Follow Jimmy Toscano on Twitter at http:twitter.comJimmy_Toscano

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a  championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.

“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said. 

The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded. 

“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem. 

“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”