Sunday 13 May 2007

The Baron and his Warriors

Its good to see Baron Davis finally getting his due credit. For years Davis, arguably the most overall talented point guard in the NBA, had received bad press, whether for being ravaged by injury or never quite living up to expectations equal to his talent.

Frankly thats a load of crap, people get injured especially during an 82 game season (not including post season) the fact he's playing at as high a level (higher i would argue) after a sever ACL tear a few years back is near miraculous and testament to his character and perseverance. In terms of expectations, he took a team whose best players were Jamaal magloire, an offensively limited waster of a centre who runs like Richard Gere after a night in the company of some hamster friends, and Jamaal Mashburn, a creaking vet, into the playoffs. His numbers were ridiculous to boot.

But finally Baron ended up in a great situation for him, in Golden State with Don Nelson, a coach who really compliments him. Not to get caught up in the Nellie gravy train thats goin on at the moment with the Warriors success in the playoffs, but Nelson has put the ball in Davis' hands and given him freedom to express himself, he may not be as explosive as he once was (like in his UCLA days, watch the video for jaw dropping highlights) but he makes the right decisions and makes his teammates better players, showcasing great leadership and fearlessness in taking over games in crunch time.

The epitomy of a great point guard, Davis is so smart in using his linebacker physique and deceptive change of gears to blow by defenders and is still liable to bust a dunk down on a player or two when you least expect it, if anything he's a far better player to watch these days then in his physical prime because he doesnt try to rely on athleticism alone. Its just so great to see a guy who is outrageously talented and had his doubters, succeed. The Warriors became the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in NBA playoff history, and not only did they beat any No. 1 seed, but the Dallas Maverick team who had the 6th best regular season record of all time and 'MVP' Dirkalicious goin into the playoffs, but Davis was without a shadow of a doubt MVP of the series, bullying his way to the rim, hitting step back jumpers and orchestrating for his teamates, all while playing physically imposing D (at 6'3'' and about 220).

The beauty is even if the Warriors get beaten by the Jazz and don't make it to the conference finals, they and Davis have succeeded in bringing back some much needed glory to the bay area (well the Raiders werent gonna do it!) and hope for the future with a relatively young team. With a no doubt more cohesive unit next year and a fun style of spectator friendly ball...

Its reputed that when TNT analyst Kenny Smith was once talking with Davis and said to him, Baron, you can do ANYTHING offensively on the basketball court, and you can do ANYTHING defensively on the court, so why are you not one of the most dominant players out there. Its good to see all it took was a little time for BDiddy to get there. (Warriors for the chip 07'!)

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