While its still early in the NBA season, there have been many surprises and one of the big ones has been the Orlando Magic.
Coming into Tuesday nights game against the Bulls, Orlando led the league in three-point field goal percentage (.538), was second in scoring (108) and had won their first two games by a margin of 17 points.
After losing franchise cornerstone, Dwight Howard, along with coach Stan Van Gundy and general manager Otis Smith, most believed the Magic would be one of the worst teams in the league, if not the worst.
Leading the way for them has been Glen Big Baby Davis, who is averaging a team-high 25 points and nine rebounds per game.
While those numbers may catch many off guard, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau isnt one of them, having coached and seen Davis mature during his time as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.
It doesnt surprise me, Thibodeau said of Davis production. Hes shown throughout his career hes more than capable. Hes been in a number of big games before. Hes started games, come off the bench. There was the one season in Boston where Kevin Garnett got hurt, Davis started and scored big. So I know how good he is as a player.
The Magic fell to the Bulls 99-93 Tuesday, but Davis finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
He credits his time in Boston for helping shape the player he is today, and credits Thibodeau with helping shape the mindset hes developed.
Just the mentality of perfection, said Davis. You cant be perfect but you can strive to be perfect. He did that in everything he did. Defensively, from the way he approached the game, long hours and nights of watching film on tendencies of players, what to do and what not to do.
"You pick that up as a youngster if you want to do well and if you want to succeed. Just his ins and outs of the game, especially after winning that championship in 2008, to see how good we were defensively because of his mentality and the way he approached every game. I learned a lot from him.
Its in knowing Thibodeaus mentality and pursuit of perfection why Davis doesnt see the Bulls being far from where they have been the past two years. Even without having Derrick Rose for most of the season.
I dont see them taking a step back, says Davis. I just see guys on their team having to step up. Guys just have to do a little bit more because Derrick Rose did a lot for that team. Guys like Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah are guys that can really play the game at a high level.
"They have to do a little bit more to get wins. With Thibodeaus mindset, theyre going to play defense, but on the offensive end, knowing how to score and finding a way to score without Rose, theyre going to have to play as a team.
Whether or not Davis and the Magic can continue building on an impressive start remains to be seen. And when asked on that thought, Davis echoes phrases derived straight from the mind of Thibodeau.
Im just looking forward to taking things one day at a time and making sure that I walk the walk.