Baron Davis: Why the Aging Guard's Career in the NBA May Be over

Joye PruittSenior Analyst IDecember 18, 2011

CLEVELAND - MARCH 29: Baron Davis #85 of the Cleveland Cavaliers keeps the ball inbounds during the game against the Miami Heat on March 29, 2011 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

When you look at Baron Davis, what do you see?

Do you see a youthful point guard able to keep up with the more athletic guard of the future plaguing teams league-round? Do you see an aging guard fully capable of leading the charge while adequately mentoring and educating a rookie guard during his first years in the league?

Dan Gilbert did not.

In a league where veteran leadership is becoming more important by the game to the success of raw-talented rookies, Baron Davis was released from the Cleveland Cavaliers. This was an ideal situation for an able aging guard to clear a path for No.1 pick Kyrie Irving, especially during a shortened season.

It was an option that the Cavaliers chose not to exercise. No matter how amicable the split may have been, Davis’ exit from the franchise showed a glaring issue with the guard that other teams must pay attention to.

Davis is not going to be the go-to guy and even a team with ample rebuilding to endure realized it.

There have been rumors surrounding Baron Davis and a possible signing with the Knicks. It is a decision that would definitely set New York in the wrong direction.

The Knicks need a lot more than anything Davis can offer to contend for the 2012 playoffs. There are too many questions about Davis’ work ethic, his health and his motivation for anyone to be entirely confident that all of those factors will be Grade-A this season.

His back tightness should raise questions as multiple back-to-back matchups could further strain his injury. Davis has a minimum of 8-10 weeks out, with the NBA season slated to start in just one, on Christmas day of course. Baron would undoubtedly be out for that game against the Boston Celtics. He would also be bench, at minimum, for about 36 games of the season.

That may not have been much of a concern, if this were one of those full-season types of seasons. But, remember this shortened season, due solely to the extended NBA lockout, does not give teams the courtesy of taking their time to work in new playmates. Each franchise needs to hit the ground running and since Baron Davis is entirely unable to, the Knicks do not need to concern themselves with someone who would at first glance be considered “deadweight”.

Take a page out of Amare’s book. As reported by ESPN,

"This guy's out for 8-10 weeks, man. He's not our concern at all," Stoudemire said Thursday. "We can't do anything about his injury. Right now we can't afford to have any [setbacks]. We have a positive thing going. We feel great about our guys. Everybody's healthy, so we've just got to keep it going."

Another rumored placement for Baron Davis has been the Los Angeles Lakers, a team whose last responsibility should be looking after another aging, backup caliber guard. Derek Fisher is a steadfast piece of the Lakers’ playbook, but is undeniably on the opposite side of greatness at this point in his career.

The Lakers may not be willing to admit that his time is up, but they would of course stray away from picking up someone after they have clearly lost a big chunk of their offense during the offseason. What could Davis do that has yet to be done? What could he give the Lakers that they need to remain playoff caliber?

The answer is nothing. He could give them absolutely nothing.  

It is unnecessary to mention any other teams’ problems at the position in order to give Baron Davis’ hopes any type of credibility. This is the worst possible time for the 32-year-old guard to be injured in any manner. Every team is gunning for a title. The younger players feel they have the edge of youth and athletic ability on their side. While the older players feel as if their chemistry and previous success cannot be rivaled.

Unfortunately, Baron Davis does not fit anywhere in this equation. Maybe he could get picked up later than sooner. But, my guesses are that franchises have already figured out and evaluated what fans have come to realize after Davis was amnestied.

Baron Davis’ career just may be over.