Looking at Glen Davis before actually watching him play, you would assume that he is your typical wide, slow, undersized center that can barely get up and down the court and is just used for setting screens or getting a few rebounds. That however is completely not the case when discussing Glen Davis.
What stands out first when watching him play is his surprisingly good ball-handling ability. He is very good at taking defenders off the dribble and is able to change gears use hesitation moves even use a crossover move that can use to get to the hoop off the bounce. He utilizes this very well at the college level to take slower centers by surprise in the way he can handle the ball. Once he gets by the defender it is very hard to stop him because it is difficult stopping a man of his size and strength from getting a shot up. His ball-handling is not only limited to one on one situations, as he has even shown the ability to get the rebound and bring the ball up court if need be.
When he wants to get to the basket either off the dribble or when posting up, it is very hard for defenders to stop him from finishing at the rim. When a man that size gets into the air, he has to come down, and usually most post-men are not used to having to stop someone with incredible strength. Thus Davis can get his shot off around the basket and he has the potential to get a lot of continuation baskets because of his ability to follow through after contact.
Another very surprisingly aspect of Daviss game is that he has a very
developed mid-range jump shot. He can shoot efficiently and effectively from the 15-17 foot range or even beyond and shows great shooting touch for a man his size.
Davis really likes shooting at the top of the key in the circle, which is where he is most effective if left open. When he is on the block posting up, Davis also has a very good fade-away jump shot that he can use off of a spin move. As the SEC player of the year, hes a true go-to player for his team and will look for his shot in all situations to try and carry his team offensively.
Athletically, Davis is very rare. A player his size, with his strength and bulk, combined with his unique agility and nimbleness on the court does not come along very often. He has very quick feet, and can get up and down the court a lot better than most would assume. Davis is a mountain of a man, an immoveable object in the paint in many respects because of his wide body and physical strength. He has massive arms and looks like he could bench press a truck if really wanted too. The key is that he knows how to use his strength, too. It is not wasted on the court; he can use it when carving space for himself to post up, or to limit post players from setting up where they want to in the paint on offense. Another intriguing part of his game is that he is very coordinated for a big man, and has huge and soft, but strong hands on defense and offense.
On offense if there is one play that Davis can execute to perfection it is the pick and roll. It all starts with his ability to set a great screen with his wide body, and then use his quickness to get open followed by implementing his fine short-range jump shooting ability. He is a pick and pop player and if he gets in trouble he knows how to pass his way out of a double team. Davis is comfortable with the basketball in his hands and simply goes out and makes plays.
On the defensive end he has his virtues as well, being able to move players around in the post with his strength and width space. He does not have slow feet; if anything he is fairly nimble on defense and moves his feet well.
What he is at his best on defense is stopping the offensive player from backing up close to the basket. Davis knows how to use his leverage and size to push the offensive player away from where they want to ideally post up. When he boxes out aggressively he can really clear space. He takes out almost anyone in his path and no player can stop him from getting the ball if he puts his mind to it.
Davis is known as one of the most charismatic players in the NCAA, and from watching him interact with his teammates he appears to have a great personality. At times he can be a fun loving guy that likes to
joke around, and at other times he is a serious competitor and is one of the emotion leaders of his LSU team which reached the Final Four. Davis was one of the more vocal leaders not only on the court but also in the media during their trip to the Final Four. Having a likeable sincere guy like that on any NBA team would do nothing but help in terms of team cohesiveness.
Davis has quite a few weaknesses to his game as far as his NBA potential goes.
The first would be his size. At 6-7 or 6-8 at best, Davis is severely undersized for an NBA power forward already. Although being 310+ pounds works for him currently in the NCAA, NBA teams will have to see some type of potential for him to get under 280 pounds if they are even going to take him seriously. His extra weight already limits him severely from getting off the ground to finish around the hoop or get rebounds out of his area. Conditioning issues have been a major problem for Davis throughout his career because of all the extra weight he carries, and shedding most of his excess baggage could go a long ways in making him even more nimble on the court.
Second is how he appears to force the issue excessively by going away from his strengths and trying to play too much like a guard rather than going inside and banging down low, especially in terms of using his ball-handling. No NBA team is going to build their offense around a 6-7 300+ pound players ability to create shots off the dribble, so he must adapt himself to becoming more of a role player that can do all the little things and play to his strengths.
Offensively, instead of using a good solid drop step and quick move to the basket, Davis might try to finesse the ball into the basket using a fancy unnecessary dribble or shot attempt. Simply put he can be too cute at times both inside and on the perimeter, which limits his production.
In terms of his footwork, it is not very developed. He is a post player that likes to face the basket and does not have a good back to the basket game as of yet. Davis will look to face up, shoot a jump shot or take the defender off the dribble. To be completely effective on offense however and in order to best utilize his strengths, he will have to learn more post moves with his back to the basket outside of a fade away jumper or a quick short hook shot.
Which brings to the issue revolving around his nickname, Big Baby. Davis earned that nickname not for his antics on the basketball court, but rather on the gridiron where he was considered too soft to make an impact that a player of his size and ability should. Questions still revolve around whether he is willing to battle in the paint consistently and use his physical size to get rebounds or does he just want to be fancy with the basketball? Davis has to show he is a tough guy that wants contact and is willing to do the dirty work as well as handle the basketball and play on the perimeter periodically. He has to make his ball-handling ability an added plus, and not the main core of his game.
Physically he would ideally be 6-10 to 7-0, but he is not. Davis is listed at 6-9 but appears to be much closer in actuality to 6-7. Because of that he does not have very long arms and that limits him in his ability to stop the shots of already taller and longer post players at times. To minimize that weakness to his game, he will have to continue to work on his ability to front the post and always maximize his strength and limit post players from posting up where they want to.
It would also be nice to see him being more aggressive boxing out on rebounds. Sometimes he gets lazy and does not actually box out the opponent; instead he just gets in the way and makes them go around his wide body. Because of his less than ideal arm length boxing out for him will be key. He periodically gets either tired or lazy and just leans on the offensive player to play defense, and that will have to stop at the next level because NBA power forwards will have a field day with him. Davis also has a tendency to bite on pump fakes too often, despite the fact that he is not and probably will never be a shot blocker unless he loses 50+ pounds and develops some sort of leaping ability. His defensive IQ will have to improve at the next level because his strength will not be enough to deal with athletic big men with good footwork that have a variety of offensive moves. Because of his size and the improvement in the ability of big men to shoot from the outside, Davis will have to do a better job showing on screens as well, as here also he is too lazy getting out to hedge the screen.
Glen Davis has gone up against some quality competition both in the SEC and in his out of conference schedule; faring well against very highly rated big men like Hilton Armstrong, Terence Dials and LaMarcus Aldridge. He was very impressive against the Texas big man Aldridge especially, completely taking him out of the game as he absolutely
controlled where Aldridge posted up.
Glen Davis at this point in his career is looking like a better and better NBA prospect by leading his team to the Final Four. However the Tractor Traylor comparisons will haunt him. The fact that not many men his size have succeeded in the NBA will be an issue. Will his lack of height affect his ability to play center? Does he have the endurance to play in an 82 game season and still be able to get up and down
the court as effectively as he has shown in college? Can he take off and keep off all the excess weight he carries? Can he develop a more
solid post game with more developed post moves? All of these questions will have to be answered. Its hard to imagine his stock getting any higher after helping his team make the Final Four, so many expect him to at least test the waters this year to see where his stock lies. Hell likely get his fair share of looks from 20-40, depending on how much weight he can take off over the next few months.