New York Knicks: 5 Reasons Baron Davis Will Get Bulk of PG Minutes Down Stretch
"Baron or Bust," said the New York Post yesterday.
It could definitely be worse.
For those who lost hope when Jeremy Lin went down, have faith. Baron Davis, if his back and hammy hold up, will breathe new life into the point guard position, tend to Anthony's needs and help deliver the postseason.
Here's five reasons why.
1. That Was the Original Plan Anyway
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Well, it's true.
Ten days before the Knicks signed Baron Davis, they had inked Tyson Chandler (and Mike Bibby). Veteran point guard Chauncey Billups was jettisoned to make room for the seven-foot center, thanks to the new cap amnesty clause.
That was going to leave Toney Douglas, or Bibby, running the show.
The Knicks thought better of that idea and grabbed Davis, despite his having a herniated disc and a lead time of 10 weeks before hitting the floor. We can all thank our lucky stars now they did.
2. Davis Is the Best Healthy Point Guard on the Team (Duh)
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Clearly. With Jeremy Lin out, where to turn?
Baron Davis was hurt for the first half of the shortened season—a full 32 games. He was about a week delayed in returning, which opened the door for Lin in the first place.
Davis was a little rusty at first (and off the bench) but still averaged about six assists a game over his first 11 games. Now, finally, he is getting what he was originally brought in for: the start.
And he is delivering. Davis' last four games, the only ones he started, have been his best.
Now, who else is left?
Iman Shumpert is probably the next best option, even though he's not really a true point guard. He's that good, you just want to create some floor time for him. But that would leave so much unrealized: team defense would drop off and Shumpert would score less.
Then there is Toney Douglas. He is going to get some second-chance minutes now. But Douglas has already proven that while he can score the occasional three-pointer and bring some defense, he's not up to the full-time task of directing the floor. The Knicks are a mess with Douglas starting at the point, 3-6, including losses to the rather pitiful Warriors, Kings, Raptors and Hornets.
And it's worse than that. The Knicks are 4-12 when Douglas plays a minimum of 15 minutes.
Mike Bibby? Is he still on the team? Oh yeah, he's shooting 26 percent from the floor and adding 1.3 assists per game. A total waste.
3. Baron Davis Gels with Carmelo Anthony
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Finally, some gelling!
Baron Davis knows how to manage Carmelo Anthony better than anyone else at the point this season, including Lin.
Mike D'Antoni could have used Davis a little sooner, too. He might even still be coaching.
Said Davis, "We have such explosive scorers on this team that playing a grind-it-out halfcourt game could be to our advantage," rather than run-and-gun, according to the New York Post.
I agree. That is the informed, responsible attitude of a veteran.
Not to take away from Linsanity, but let's face it, Lin-Melo wasn't working as well as everybody wanted. The Knicks were 2-8 when Anthony returned from injury in February, right on the heels of Lin's mania.
Davis-Melo? 3-1 so far when both have started. It's a small sample that will be expanded on in April.
Davis feeds Anthony the ball perfectly in the low post. Give Mike Woodson a little credit for that, too.
4. He's Got the Numbers and Veteran Leadership
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Well, not yet exactly, but he is coming around.
His assist numbers have been solid all season, whether off the bench or as a starter.
Now, with his health in stride, and after getting the nod, he's added more points and rebounds per game.
And there's just something in Baron Davis' game that isn't on paper, and that Jeremy Lin simply doesn't have: experience.
Lin was learning on the fly, learning how to feed a superstar. Davis has been directing traffic for 13 years.
5. Baron Davis Has Been There
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Baron Davis' regular season experience is one thing, but he's also been to the postseason six times, all with teams worse than the current Knicks, injuries or not.
More than that, though, Davis has been on teams with some sticky situations down the stretch, which is what we're talking about here.
The 2006-07 Golden State Warriors, for example, were an eight seed. The Warriors finished that season 9-1 in their final 10 games to lock up that spot.
Let's see Davis do it again...