Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images
Back in my ill-advised pursuit of the Indie rock dream days, I was forced to make a huge decision when it came time to buy a new bass guitar. I mean, obviously I was getting a Fender, and I was pretty sure it would be a P-Bass, but do I spend the extra dough to get an American model? Or can I get by with a Mexican-made rocket?
In the end, I went Mexican. But that was based on the fact that I was a pizza delivery man and paid way too much for rent. The smart move would have been to buy American. Why? Because these aren’t cars and if you’re a musician, you know that the extra cash upfront for an American-made Fender means that it actually will appreciate in value in the time that you own it (especially if you become famous).
Acquiring assets that appreciate over time is not something to take lightly. The Orlando Magic and general manager Rob Hennigan get that, and they have a piece in Glen Davis that is probably more valuable now than when he was first acquired in late 2011 by the Otis Smith regime.
Just look at his Player Efficiency Rating in correlation with his usage rate over the past six seasons. Davis has progressed from an 11.3 PER in his rookie season (17.4 percent usage rate) to a career-best 15.0 PER in the first half of this season (25.5 percent usage rate). There is really no arguing the fact that as his usage has gone up, his production has increased. Even if his efficiency and shot selection has admittedly suffered mightily along the way.
There are a lot of ways you can dissect Davis’ game and discount his growth as a player. For one, he can be an black hole offensively. Which is a shame, because even though he’s a plus defender, he can be a net negative on the court because he’s such an inefficient player offensively — his True Shooting percentage has dropped precipitously since his rookie season.
The fact is, though, that Glen Davis is a proven champion who not only exceeded in his role with the Boston Celtics in 2008, but also successfully stepped into a bigger role with the Magic in a constantly deteriorating situation during Dwight Howard’s last months with the team. Davis’ performance in Orlando’s first round series against the Indiana Pacers last season is proof that he can be a useful player.
So there we have it. Glen Davis was valuable in 2008, he’s more valuable now, and it seems pretty likely that Hennigan is going to cash in on this opportunity sooner rather than later.
Glen Davis proved to be an effective tool on a championship team. He’s not a gamble. You get hustle, good defense, and an x-factor with Davis. Any contender should relish the possibility of adding Davis to their roster, as long as it’s in a more suited bench role.
He plays hard every night and has the experience that most role players don’t. He’s seen both sides of the coin. He knows what it’s like to step in for a few minutes and provide a spark. He knows how to lead younger players and handle a bigger workload in tough situations. So you tell me: why wouldn’t teams offer at least something to Hennigan in exchange for a man with lots of experience?
More importantly, will Hennigan have the wherewithal to hold out for the best possible deal or will he simply dump and run? This is one of those situations where the Magic should take a deep breath and take their time.
The era of bad decision-making is over, and the era of rebuilding with wise drafting and trading has begun. J.J. Redick was one of the last hugely valuable guys on the roster to get traded and, truth be told, the Magic came out just fine at the end of that deal (thanks to the emergence of Tobias Harris). Glen Davis represents a chance for Hennigan to get the Magic out of the doghouse with back-to-back solid moves that help Orlando, not hurt them.
The NBA is a business, and like any business, it involves sales. Glen Davis is no All-Star, but he has tools. In the same way that I’ve outlined those tools and likened Davis to an American-made Fender guitar, Rob Hennigan needs to leverage, deal, and sell like crazy. He knows how to go into used car salesman and stockbroker mode. You can clean Glen Davis up and put him out in the storefront window, and see some returns.
I imagine I convinced at least one of you out there that Davis is worth acquiring and I wasn’t even really trying that hard. Hennigan should definitely try hard. It’ll pay off.