How do the Warriors benefit (on paper) from having a Baron Davis-less roster in 2008-2009, and years to come?
1. They should make more shots
Baron Davis shot 42.6% from the field during the 2007-2008 season, well below the team average of 46.0%.
He also led the Warriors in attempts per game at 18.6 (Stephen Jackson was second with 16.5 attempts per game, shooting 40.5% from the field…ouch).
By comparison, Monta Ellis shot 53.1% from the field off of 15.1 attempts per game.
Monta will take more shots this year.
Andris Biedrins shot 62.6% from the field off of 7.1 shots per game.
Andris will also take more shots this year.
Now, Baron certainly deserves some credit for acting as a creator (for Biedrins) and drawing attention away from Ellis, but it’s difficult to deny that his own shot selection was poor at best.
Now throw Corey Maggette into the fold to eat up more of Jackson’s shots, and you’re in business.
During the 2007-2008 season, Maggette shot 45.8% from the field off of 14.3 shots per game, and took 9.7 free throws per game (81% from the line).
If they can find a way distribute the ball well-enough to keep their turnovers in the same realm as last year (big if), the Warriors should operate more efficiently on offense.
2. They incur less financing risk
It seems the consensus around the league is that Baron Davis is very old 29.
He’s about to enter his tenth season in the NBA, and has a history of knee and back injuries…and a questionable work ethic.
While Davis worked extremely hard to get his body in shape leading up to last year, it’s hard to look past the fact that he was entering into a “potential” contract year.
Baron certainly has an opportunity to prove everyone wrong. He’s still one of the league’s most talented players, and one of its best players when he’s on his game.
But for the Warriors, the notion of committing a substantial portion of their salary cap for several years to a player with injury risk was too difficult to overcome.
Al Harrington ($9 million) comes off the books after this season, Stephen Jackson ($7 million) and Adonal Foyle (5 million approx.), at the end of next season.
With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Amare Stoudemire coming to market in the summer of 2010, Chris Mullin was hard pressed to place his bets on Davis, when he’ll have the cap room to sign a younger, more impactful player in just two years.
3. The young guys get a chance to fully mature
Ellis (22) and Biedrins (22) both have big time upside: Ellis as a 25+ points per game scorer in the league, Biedrins as a double-double guy for the next 10+ years.
Rumors has it that there was a feeling in the Warriors front office that Davis was starting to stunt their growth.
Well, now that he’s gone, we’ll find out just how good both guys can be, now and for the future.
So, what does this mean for the short and long term states of the Warriors? Find out here.
Also, you can read Dave's take on the head aches that Baron Davis's departure will cause for Don Nelson during the 2008-2009 season.