Baron Davis: Why His Signing Could Pay off for the Knicks This Year
On Sunday, the New York Knicks and veteran Baron Davis agreed to unite.
The UCLA product will clog the noticeable hole the Knicks had at point guard. Mike Bibby (who is currently playing past his expiration date) or Toney Douglas (more of an off-the-bench combo guard) would have been running the point for New York this season.
Davis isn't the absolute best option around to lead your offense, but he is certainly an upgrade over what the Knicks had last week.
He no doubt helps solidify the position for them. But, assuming his back heals, he could be a huge factor in the Knicks jumping into contention.
Here's how and why.
Playing in the Garden
Baron Davis is a classic case of a supreme talent who often gets uninspired on the court. There have been numerous occasions when he ceased to play hard and became less effective as a player.
These times were during his days playing with the Hornets and Clippers while they were facing dull seasons. The New Orleans and Los Angeles crowds were usually pretty stagnant and inactive.
Davis has always seemed to play off of the energy that the fans in the stands produce.
When he played in front of the electric crowd in Oakland as a member of the Warriors, he was one of the most exciting players to watch as he flew up and down the court performing entertaining plays.
Now he'll play before the fans of Madison Square Garden. Even during the historically bad Knicks seasons over the last dozen years or so, the audience at MSG has been among the league's best.
Now that the team is actually respectable, the Garden's crowd is perhaps the best of all the arenas.
Davis could not ask for better energy on which to feed.
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Baron Davis enjoyed two of his best seasons playing in a run-and-gun offense under offensive innovator Don Nelson.
He flourished when running down the court and finding his teammates with nifty passes or powering to the basket himself. He was certainly a top-10 point guard at that time. It was like Nelson's system was designed specifically for him
Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni also runs a fast-paced offense. Davis should not have much trouble adjusting to this system, as it shares similarities to one that he thrived in.
He might not be as explosive as he was a few seasons ago, but he still has enough skills to be highly effective running and gunning.
Baron Davis will join Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler in New York City.
They will instantly become the best and most talented group of teammates that he has ever had. With that being said, he should find ease in setting them up on offense getting them buckets.
Stoudemire and Anthony are proven standout scorers and shot-makers. Chandler has been one of the best alley-oop finshers in the last few years, catching lobs from the likes of Chris Paul and Jason Kidd throughout that time.
Davis is in that class of passers.
These guys will also give Davis a lot of open shots, as he'll most likely be a near afterthought for opposing defenses because they will have to focus more on the Kicks' front court. His career 32 percent three-point shooting rate is bound to be higher this season.
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The Knicks signed Baron Davis to just a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum for about $2.5 million, meaning he'll be a free agent in the summer.
If playing in the Garden wasn't enough motivation for the former All-Star, he'll probably be looking to cash in on one last hefty contract before he hangs it up. This means we will see a fully-engaged Baron Davis at all times.
He will want to put on his best audition to earn his way to a multi-year deal in the offseason.
He Wants to Be There
Judging by Allan Hahn of Newsday's tweets, Baron Davis wanted to be a Knick and is delighted that it is now a reality.
One would think that there is no excuse to lose interest in playing hard since he certainly wants to be in orange and blue.
This is the most storied franchise he has played with in his career, and we should expect to see him take pride in being a Knickerbocker.
You can follow/contact Nigel Broadnax on Twitter @BroadnaxWrites.