Can Baron Davis Make the Clippers a Playoff Team?
Baron Davis has a lot of questions coming into the season to answer. The Clippers guard missed 17 games last season, and in the games he did play, he was somewhat of a letdown. With a healthier team around him, and the addition of #1 pick Blake Griffin, will Davis return to his old form?
My verdict so far is that he can. In preseason games, he has played with a definite chip on his shoulder. He came to Los Angeles with the goal of resurrecting a franchise in desperate need of success.
His statistics still don't show that he is completely healthy and playing at his high level again, but he has taken a leadership role. Last year, he claimed to feel lost and without direction because he was a newcomer. This year, it's officially his team. He knows if this is going to work, he has to lead them.
It looks as though Davis is ready to accept the fact that he no longer can take over a game at any moment. He could do that in Charlotte, and also at Golden State, but he is declining a bit with age catching up. With a healthy Marcus Camby, a new stud in Blake Griffin, and a pair of young, talented wings in Eric Gordon and Al Thornton, he can become a great distributor.
Davis has always had a score first mentality, but he also has been getting 7-8 assists a game for the past few seasons. I expect him to put up a career-high in assists, while maintaining his 15 points or so a game like last season.
Davis came to the Clippers with great intentions, and he can make a quick turnaround with a team that does have some nice pieces. Los Angeles will only have one relevant NBA team again this season though unless Baron Davis can lead the way at the point.