In my opinion, Baron Davis will always serve as something of a folk hero in the NBA.
After willing the Golden State Warriors to relevancy, becoming a nasty spark off the New York Knicks bench and sporting a beard that should make James Harden question his own originality, it was sad to see him go down with a brutal injury in the 2012 playoffs against the Miami Heat.
Since then, Davis has been out of the league and missed by the fans. However, the old adage of “gone but not forgotten” rings true in Davis’ case as he has repeatedly been spotted hanging around the Knicks’ locker room and even shared a story about the time he was abducted by aliens and had his mind upgraded with their mysterious technology.
He then finished his ordeal with a trip to In-n-Out.
Despite all that, Davis has allegedly made some headway on this planet as well. Davis has made it clear from the beginning of his injury that he intended to come back to the league. In an interview with Alan Hahn of sulia.com, Davis said by at this point he wants to “be ready to showcase my talent and try out for whoever I need to try out for”.
Here we are in mid-September, and if Davis’ phone is ringing off the hook, he certainly hasn’t told anyone about it. While I would love to see Davis get to immediately return to a contender that would fit his unique style like his beloved Knicks or the Oklahoma City Thunder, Davis is a bit of a gamble. Some of the league’s top teams, regardless of how right they are, may think he isn’t worth it.
Davis is a veteran point guard that needs a team that wouldn’t mind giving him a shot. The Boston Celtics are a team that needs a veteran point guard to aid the loss of Rajon Rondo. At this point, I don’t think Danny Ainge would mind gambling. However, there are scores of veteran point guards that would love to play in the NBA. The Celtics won’t sign him just because he’s there. So why Davis?
For starters, the Celtics are a very, very young team. Whatever amount of veteran leadership could bring to the table, especially on such a guard-heavy team, could go a long way. On the hardwood, the Celtics will need scoring this season, and Davis is no slouch on the offensive end of the floor.
With the Knicks, Davis may have only averaged six and four, but was playing alongside the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire. In that situation, there isn’t going to be excessive passing or scoring beyond the two of them.
Davis is also a former All-Star. You can’t expect him to go back to averaging 22 ppg anymore, but in a situation without any “black holes” on the court and one in which he could start for Rondo, Davis would be the biggest threat he’s been in a while.
A tenure in Boston could be good for Davis’ game. Some of the knocks against Davis’ style are that he shoots too much from behind the arc and that he lacks aggression. In Boston, his desire for going tray-crazy could be quelled by the fact Avery Bradley and newcomer Keith Bogans should have that role taken care of.
While Davis avoids aggressive play due largely due to his lackluster free throw percentage, the defensive capabilities of Bradley should provide him with a few extra easier shots at getting near the paint.
And while clutch is not a stat, Davis has a habit of making big shots when he is called upon to do so. Many Celtics fans would have no problem with Jeff Green taking the game-winner, but he may be the only realistic option in that situation. Adding Davis adds a whole new element to crunch time scenarios for the opposition, as you never know when he may turn it on.
The NBA just hasn’t been the same since Davis left. It’s clear he wants back in, and for good reason. There aren’t many scenarios in which I would encourage Ainge to sign a damaged 34-year-old guard who has been out of the league for a while, but this is one of them.
Davis presents himself not as a washed up former star, but as an under-the-radar solution to a very big problem for the Celtics. Boston would be foolish not to give him a call.