The Knicks just announced Baron Davis tore his ACL and MCL, and partially tore his patella tendon in yesterday’s victory over the Heat. Truly sad news. In honor of one of the league’s most colorful players, here’s what’s probably the last nationally televised crossover of his memorable career.
Adorned in a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen lumberjack/superhero ensemble, and armed with a brand new orange head band fastened to a matching flannel cape, last week Baron Davis crashed through the New York Knicks’ glass ceiling, swooped in, and saved what had promise to be the single worst backcourt a would-be-contender has ever placed in uniform.
“Saved” might be too certain a word: Nobody who lacks a defibrillator in the trunk of their car can resuscitate Mike Bibby, and even then you’re dealing in risky business; at last check, Toney Douglas—he of irrational decision making, overrated defensive abilities, and unexplainable self-confidence—is still scheduled for major minutes; Iman Shumpert, 6’6” and with 0 games of professional experience, barely qualified as a sturdy floor general at Georgia Tech last season; and Landry Fields’ transparency to that of a ghost during the latter half of his rookie year managed to erase all good will he’d previously placed on the table. Read more…
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In all likelihood, the Cleveland Cavaliers will use their amnesty clause on Baron Davis (although, for what it’s worth, I say they give a long look at Anderson Varejao) sometime after December 9th. He’s approaching 33-years-old, and is probably most known for not caring as much about basketball as a professional basketball player should. He’s mercurial, yet oh so very talented. A complete point guard who deserves an asterisk next to those games where he seems to lack any fire in his belly, an indicator saying “sure, he only had 10 points and five assists tonight, but how many guys can get those numbers when they aren’t even trying?”
Obviously that’s not something to be proud of, and it’s certainly not being condoned here, but Baron Davis might have yet another opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of those who see him as a lazy underachiever. Let’s look at the serious irony. Once upon a time, Davis was awarded big money to be a franchise leading point guard. Years removed from that contract’s signing, he’s now positioned himself with the opportunity to play for a contender because he failed to live up to his end of the bargain. That hardly qualifies as “justice”, but who cares, it’s basketball.
If Davis ends up as the facilitator in Los Angeles, New York, or Miami, he’d be as overqualified as one can imagine. Perhaps too overqualified. He’d be forced to defer to two, three, maybe four teammates on any given night, in a role he’s never seen before. If he someone avoids subverting his new team’s chemistry, Davis’ acquisition could be the one we look at in June as deciding our 2012 NBA champion. He’s that good—too bad he’s his own worst enemy.
It’s unfortunate that Baron Davis might be remembered for everything but his undeniable basketball talent: His venture into the entertainment business, the mercurial way he only gets up for games that create their own buzz (see Heat, Miami), and the never ending high-school type drama that’s traveled alongside his miniature bus-tour of a career. He’s one of those guys who has the talent—ridiculous jaw-dropping talent—but never quite lifted himself to the perennial All-Star echelon he could’ve, and should’ve, seen. Moves like this one prove that Davis still has it; hopefully he’s able to maintain his focus on the game that brought him all this fame in the first place. Cleveland deserves it.