Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“It’s all mental,” he said. “I was kind too hard on myself when I was starting. I wanted to prove to Doc [Rivers] and prove to my teammates … The difference between that and the playoffs is I just went and played. That’s what I do when I come off the bench, I just go out and play. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I got out of myself and tried to be something [else]. That’s now how it works. You have to be yourself. I had a couple of good games, but as far as all-around games, the way I know I can play, I didn’t bring it. Now being on the bench you get back to the same mentality.”
Sometimes the best intentions lead to the worst results. Glen Davis certainly wasn't trying to miss shots and play poorly… he was trying to help the team and show he's capable of doing so. But when you try to do too much, things start to fall apart. Glen Davis has realized now that he's, well, Glen Davis. And when he just does his job like he's supposed to do… then he'll do a hell of a job.
The human mind is an amazing thing. It can take people to crazy heights (look at KG's intensity) and it can make people do things that, in retrospect, they acknowledge weren't the best idea. Part of Baby maturing as an NBA player is keeping his mind in check. Having the wherewithal to understand that even in the most extreme situations, just doing what he always does out there will produce the best results.
Because it's entirely possible Baby will have to start again somewhere down the road. Going through this now might have been best… because should we need him to do it again, he'll understand the exact mindset he needs to get the job done.
On Page 2: I talk myself into Paul Pierce for 1st half MVP
Last night Chuck ended The 2 Man Game with a little mid-season grading and team MVP debate. In giving my grade for Paul Pierce, I waxed poetic about how he's done it all for the C's and done it about as well as ever. Yet when we talked MVP, I picked Rondo and Chuck picked KG. By the end, both of us were wondering why we didn't pick Pierce.
So I've changed my mind.
I threw the red challenge flag on myself, went to the review booth, and upon further review, Paul Pierce is actually the first half MVP.
Let's start with the basics: He's leading the team in scoring (again), his rebounding, assists and blocks are up, his turnovers are down, and his shooting percentages are all at, or very near, career highs. So the man is producing on the court.
Dipping into a liiiiiitle bit of the advanced metrics (only a little, because they scare me): His true shooting percentage (a measure of 2's, 3's & ft's) is a career high 62.8% and among the best in the league (LeBron's is 58.2, Kobe's is 55.5… just for comparison). Meanwhile his usage rate is at a career low, which means he's deferring to other guys more often than ever. And his PER (John Hollinger's magical Player Efficiency Rating) is 20.63… the highest its been in the Big 3 era and good enough to be among the best in the league (and better than Carmelo Anthony, who the Nuggets apparently think warrants a Herschel Walker-type trade package…. but I digress).
So you get the point… statistically, Paul Pierce is having a damn fine year. But to me, the most important test is the eye test. And that's where Paul cinches it. Because when Rajon Rondo was out, Paul Pierce stepped up in that first game and dropped 10 dimes. He followed that up with a triple double (18,10,10). He averaged 6.7 assists (about twice his season average) when Rajon was out. He's held the team together, doing what needs to be done while the team deals with a multitude of injuries. Meanwhile, he's played in all 41 games so far, showing a durability that many didn't expect, especially after the problems he had last season.
To me, that all adds up to a Team MVP. Maybe it's a 3-way tie between him and Rondo. You can certainly make the case for any of them. But right now, the way he's played, and the fact that he's done it in every game this year… I think Pierce has the edge.
The rest of the links: