New York Knicks: 4 Ways Baron Davis Will Improve the Team
So far this season, the Knicks have been nothing but a disappointment. They are only 7-13 on the season and have currently lost nine of their last 10 games. The worst part is many of the teams the Knicks have lost to are in the bottom half of the league.
The Knicks have gotten very inconsistent play out of their point guards so far this season. There are only five teams in the league who average less assists per game than the Knicks.
Toney Douglas was supposed to be the Knicks starter, but lost his starting role in only eight games. He has since come off the bench and is still only shooting 26 percent from three-point range.
Iman Shumpert and Mike Bibby have split the remaining time at point guard. Both players have been looking to shoot first and pass second and only average 4.9 APG combined.
The Knicks need Davis back desperately. Here are four ways Baron Davis will improve the Knicks and turn them into the playoff team everyone thought they would be.
Better Ball Movement
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The most obvious way Baron Davis will improve the Knicks is with his ability to spread the ball around.
The Knicks currently don’t have a PG on their active roster with the passing ability Davis has. Even though he is better known as a scorer, Davis has still averaged 7.3 APG for his career.
Without a proper PG, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have often been forced to go to the perimeter to get open to receive a pass. With Davis back, the Knicks will instantly improve since he knows how to get them the ball in easy scoring opportunities close to the basket.
I believe Davis understands his role on this team and will be looking pass first when he finally steps on the court as the Knicks' starting PG.
Mentor Iman Shumpert
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A veteran leader to show them the ropes is crucial for any rookie entering the league. The transition from college to the pros must have been especially difficult for Iman Shumpert and the 2011 draft class due to the shortened training camp and preseason.
You can already see Davis being a vocal leader on the bench for Shumpert and the Knicks. Even though he’s in a suit, he is constantly barking out instructions, possibly even more than the coaches do, and is clearly disappointed by the Knicks' current struggles.
Shumpert has shown he has the ability to get past his defender and into the paint, but Davis needs to teach him what to do next. Shumpert is settling for wild shots against bigger defenders too often.
Davis, who also excels and driving into the paint, needs to lead by example and teach Shumpert how to find an open teammate and create high percentage shots rather than settle for difficult ones.
Another result of Davis’ return is the Knicks bench will instantly improve. When Davis enters the starting rotation, either Iman Shumpert or Landry Fields will become the Knicks' new sixth man.
I believe Fields is the player who should be moved to the bench and Shumpert should slide over to shooting guard.
Fields has really struggled so far this season. His scoring is down from last year and most notably, his rebounding that earned him the highest RPG average amongst all guards last season has drastically dropped.
I also don’t believe the Knicks will move Shumpert to the bench because if they do, they will lose his great defensive ability. Even at SG, Shumpert will still most likely defend the better guard, regardless of which position they are playing.
Bring a Winning Attitude
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The Knicks definitely need a change of attitude if they want to turn this season around.
Baron Davis has been to the playoffs six times in his career. He has never made it past the second round, but his play has definitely stepped up from the regular season to the playoffs. In his career, Davis averages just under 20 PPG in the playoffs.
Davis needs to convince the rest of his teammates that the early season struggles don’t matter and they can still have a successful season. He knows from experience that anything can happen as long as you make the playoffs.
Unless the Knicks make a drastic trade soon, which I don’t see happening, Baron Davis is really the key to the Knicks turning this season around.