Big Baby ready to grow up
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Small things don't usually look good on Orlando Magic forward "Big Baby" Glen Davis.

But in a tiny sample size, Davis has looked like a fantasy star.

Davis started 11 games from April 1-22 last season with center Dwight Howard on the sidelines and scored 17.7 points with 9.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. He followed that up by starting all five playoff games for Orlando versus the Indiana Pacers -- he upped his production to 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in those five games.

Davis has carried his success over to the preseason. The chunky forward is third in the NBA in preseason scoring with 17.7 ppg in just 26.8 minutes. He's grabbing 5.8 rebounds and blocking 0.67 shots per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field.

The statistic that sticks out the most is his free-throw percentage. Davis is making 5.3 of 6.7 foul shots per game (79 percent). In his career the 6-foot-9 26-year-old has an average of 70.6 from the free-throw line, including 68.3 percent last season. He has only attempted 2.7 foul shots per game in his career (5.0 in the 11-start stretch mentioned above and 4.4 in the postseason).

Davis' average draft position (ADP) in Yahoo! leagues is criminally low. He's going 114.9 on average, after 42nd among PF-eligible players. Owners are drafting Suns forward Channing Frye, who will miss the entire season due to an enlarged heart, nearly two picks ahead of Davis.

Two players I think the new version of Davis stacks up against, Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies and Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls, are going at an ADP of 64.6 and 65.2, respectively.

All three players can score and rebound, shoot free throws around 70 percent and hit shots from the field at 48-52 percent. None of the three have ever averaged more than 0.7 blocks per game for a season. And yet Randolph and Boozer are both being drafted more than 49 picks before Davis.

Now that the Howard saga that infected Orlando last season has been dissolved, the team can look to the future. Davis is slated to start at power forward, with Al Harrington backing him up. Nikola Vucevic and Gustavo Ayon will handle the center minutes, but both players are untested offensively.

Orlando still has Jameer Nelson, J.J. Reddick, Hedo Turkoglu and Quentin Richardson and received Aaron Afflalo from Denver in the four-team Howard trade, but none of those guys needs to dominate the ball.

Our man Davis will have plenty of touches coming his way in the paint this season so we should see his success extend to a sample size that more adequately matches his waistline.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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