By Jessica Camerato
For the first time in years, Big Baby doesn't feel that big anymore.
That's because he isn't, at least not in the Celtics locker room.
After playing undersized down low, Glen Davis will have to find a new role with the additions of Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal.
"I'm one of the shortest players on the team. Its weird," the 6-foot-9 Davis said. "I've got to find my role and find out what I have to do."
And so begins his journey of determining where he fits in on the Celtics.
This situation is familiar to Davis. During the 2008-09 season, he stepped in at the power-forward position after Kevin Garnett was sidelined. He started every playoff game and made his mark during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic.
Last season had to readjust his game when Garnett returned from injury. He moved back to the bench, where he was one of the biggest players on a second unit that lacked size. Davis shifted to the low block while Rasheed Wallace played more on the perimeter. He averaged 5.6 rebounds per game during the NBA Finals.
This time around, the Celtics have true centers in the O'Neals, once again changing Davis' role.
"I go from popping, hitting big shots, to rolling to the basket a lot last season," he said. "That's what I needed to do for the team and that's what I did. Now this year, we got fives. So I've just got to know what my role is again this year."
Davis says he will go through some "ups and downs" with Doc Rivers during the process. Rivers says there should be little question of Davis' role.
"Let me put it like this, if Baby doesn't know his role by now, he's going to be sitting down a lot," Rivers said. "I'll just leave it that simple."
But it's not that simple for Davis, especially in a contract year. He tries to focus on basketball, not his personal circumstances, and emphasizes the importance of putting the Celtics first.
"The role I would prefer to play is the role that they want me to play," he said. "If I've got to pop, I'll pop. If I've got to roll, I'll roll. Whatever I've got to do, I'm going to do it. That's what it's all about - sacrificing yourself, sacrificing who you are for the greater good of the team."
His role may change this season, but his outlook has stayed the same.
"I'm just here to help the team whatever possible way I can," he said. "Then when I find my role, I'm just going to do it to the max ability that I can."
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato