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

191544.jpg

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

Draymond Green fined $25,000, not suspended for groin kick

warriors_draymond_green_052316.jpg

Draymond Green fined $25,000, not suspended for groin kick

NEW YORK - Draymond Green was fined $25,000 but not suspended by the NBA on Monday for kicking Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in the groin.

The league also upgraded the foul to a flagrant 2, which would have resulted in an automatic ejection had officials given it that ruling when it happened. That moved him closer to an automatic suspension for accumulation of flagrant foul points.

But Green will be on the court when the Warriors try to even the Western Conference finals at 2-2 on Tuesday at Oklahoma City.

Green was called for a flagrant 1 foul after he was fouled by Adams with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter and kicked his leg up into Adams' groin. Though the Thunder felt it was intentional, Green and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said they believed the flagrant would actually be rescinded by the league.

NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe disagreed.

"After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green's foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine," VanDeWeghe said in a statement.

"During a game, players - at times - flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green's actions in this case warranted an additional penalty."

The NBA determines a flagrant 1 foul to include "unnecessary contact." A flagrant 2 is defined as "unnecessary and excessive contact."

Green now has three flagrant foul points during the postseason. One more will force him to miss Golden State's next game.

Green was an All-Star and the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, but had a dismal game as Oklahoma City took a 2-1 lead. He was 1 for 9 from the field with six points and the Warriors were outscored by 43 points when he was on the court.

China's 7-foot-2 Zhou Qi an intriguing option for Celtics

sherrod_mock523_1280x720_691348547651.jpg

China's 7-foot-2 Zhou Qi an intriguing option for Celtics

BOSTON -- With eight picks in next month’s NBA draft there’s a very good chance the Celtics will go the draft-and-stash route with a couple of international players, with the goal being for them to stay overseas and grow their game.

That makes China’s Zhou Qi (pronounced Joe Chee), who was in town last week for a workout with the Celtics, a legitimate target with one of Boston’s three, first-round picks.

Selecting Zhou with the No. 3 overall pick is not going to happen. And selecting a player to keep tucked away with the 16th pick is a bit of a stretch, too.

But taking Zhou at No. 23 is definitely something the Celtics will consider. Boston also has five second-round picks, but league executives contacted this weekend by CSNNE.com anticipate he will be taken in the latter stages of the first round.

While little is known about Zhou in the United States, the Celtics have had him on their radar for quite some time.

“We’ve known about him for a couple of years,” said Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel. “He’s probably the third- or fourth-most recognized name in Chinese basketball.

Indeed, Zhou is trying to follow a path towards the NBA that was paved by Chinese big men Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, who were both high lottery picks (Yao was the No. 1 overall pick for Houston in 2002 while Yi was selected with the sixth overall pick in 2007 by Milwaukee).

Zhou’s stock isn’t quite that high, but there’s no mistaking he's a player that several teams with first-round picks are intrigued by.

At 7-2 1/4, Zhou’s wingspan at the NBA combine earlier this month measured an astounding 7-7 3/4. The only other player whose wingspan was greater than that at the NBA combine was Utah’s Rudy Gobert (7-8 1/2). Zhou has a standing reach of 9-4 1/2 and can touch the rim on his tippy toes.

However, Zhao’s lithe frame (he weighs 218.2 pounds, which is a little more than 10 pounds more than he weighed a few months ago) is indeed reason for some teams to give serious thought to keeping him overseas to fill out his frame for another year or two.

Despite being so skinny, teams have raved about his surprisingly nimble movement as well as his skill level.

During the combine earlier this month in Chicago, Zhou showed some his deft shooting touch by draining 14-of-25 3s taken from five different points on the floor. In addition to his scoring, Zhou is a much more athletic big man that most might expect, which can be seen in his maximum vertical leap measuring out at 31 1/2 inches.

Think about this:

The guy can practically touch the rim without jumping, and then you top that off with a vertical leap of more than 30 inches?

Boston was just one of a handful of teams the 20-year-old decided to work out for leading up to next month’s draft. 

“It was great to have him in,” Ainge said.

The Suns were another. During his workout with Phoenix, the Suns pitted him against Eric Jacobsen of Arizona State. They were looking to see how Zhou handled himself against Jacobsen, who is a 6-10, 240-pound center.

“Usually my hand is up by the ball, but I was getting up to his face and the ball was, way up there,” Jacobsen told the Arizona Republic.

Suns assistant general manager Pat Connelly was eager to get an up-close look at how Zhou handled himself against a strong center like Jacobsen.

“You can see that stuff on tape, but it’s always good to see a guy come in and get an appreciation for how a guy takes the contact,” Connelly told the Republic. “Which will be important for him going forward. He did well.”