Thursday, April 12, 2012

Perhaps it's time to rest Baron Davis

As you may or may not have noticed, Baron Davis didn't play any minutes in the 4th quarter of last night's win over the Milwaukee Bucks. It was disclosed before the game that Baron had hurt his neck diving for a loose ball Tuesday night against Chicago, further piling up his injuries. Marc Berman gives us some more info on Davis's woes and Iman Shumpert's emergence back into the point guard role:
The 32-year-old Knicks point guard, who is battling knee, neck and hamstring injuries, has continued telling coach Mike Woodson he is going to play through the pain, doing whatever he can to help the team get into the playoffs.

But after last night’s 111-107 win over the Bucks at the Bradley Center, Davis told The Post “he couldn’t move” and was “feeling off,” prompting Woodson to remove the veteran midway through the third quarter, after he totaled five points with three assists and five turnovers in 19-plus minutes.
Baron has been helpful to the Knicks because of his ability to set up an offense and still get into the lane, but that's about it. His turnovers have been woeful, his shot selection questionable, and his defense lacking. Nonetheless, the Knicks are going to need him down the stretch and into the playoffs if they want any success, especially with Jeremy Lin out for the time being. So, perhaps then, it would be wise to give him some rest.

Jump for my thoughts on the subject!

The Knicks play the Washington Wizards this Friday night, and while this isn't meant to discount the Wizards by any means, perhaps it would be better to sit for the night and give him three days off to rest before Sunday's game against Miami.

Davis would be matched up against the much bigger, stronger, faster John Wall which would be a nightmare; Shump would likely end up guarding Wall anyway. Secondly, the Wizards are 26th in the NBA in defensive efficiency. The Knicks could likely make due without Davis's playmaking contributions and get away with a point guard rotation of Shumpert, Mike Bibby, and Toney Douglas. At the very least, they could just keep Davis activated on the bench, and put him in if the offense is falling apart.

Sunday and next Tuesday finds the Knicks playing two stellar teams: the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics - two critical games for the Knicks to keep afloat in the playoff race. Afterwards, however, the Knicks play a back-to-back against the New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers, another opportune time to get Davis some rest.

The rotation would then be cut shorter, of course. The Knicks would likely move Iman Shumpert to PG, but there would still be a hole in the Knicks starting lineup. If Mike Woodson wanted to leave Carmelo Anthony at the 4, he could insert Bill Walker or Steve Novak at the 3, and move Landry Fields back down to the 2. If Woodson didn't mind moving Melo back to the 3, then he could also look to start Novak as a stretch 4, or insert Josh Harrellson into the starting lineup to play alongside Tyson Chandler.

This is all hypothetical, of course, but I think it's something the Knicks should consider. You have to imagine that if they can secure a playoff spot, that Baron Davis is likely going to get some rest before the playoffs. But God knows, we're going to need him.

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