As much as the Bay (not to mention the world) has been drinking the Baron Davis Kool-Aid, there’s no denying that The Beard can be penciled in to miss at least a handful of games every year. As a precautionary move, Don Nelson–or whoever is coaching the Warriors next year–will be sure to limit Baron’s minutes, similar to what Phoenix does with Steve Nash.
Given Baron’s (hopeful) shortage of minutes played and his injury history, the Warriors’ backup point guard situation is as important as ever, particularly if they are going to sniff the playoffs in the ultra-competitive West.
So, who will be the Baron’s understudy?
From the current roster:
- Monta Ellis: For better
orand worse, he took the reins last year during B-Diddy’s absence. The thing is, he’s a scorer, not a distributor, and team play often suffered when he forced shots, especially in the playoffs. Monta will answer a ton of questions this year: can he continue to improve after last year’s breakout campaign? Can he learn point guard skills or will he be an Iverson/Arenas-type player? Is he worth signing to a long-term deal? Will he always be a liability on the defensive end?
- Stephen Jackson: Along with Monta, Mike Dunleavy took a turn at the point in the early going, proving Nellie’s fondness for turning forwards into guards. When Monta was all but benched in the playoffs, it was Jax who handled the ball when BD was resting. Jax did a great job of getting everyone involved and keeping the seat warm for Baron. He’s a great short-term fix, but not the answer if Baron goes out for an extended time.
- Sarunas Jasikevicius: If the W’s get stuck with him, why not give him a(nother) shot? The team’s best cheerleader has been tearing up the Euro tournament this summer. His destiny seems to be in the Euro Leagues though.
- Marco Belinelli: A mystery. We’re not sure if he has the PG skills yet, but perhaps down the line.
- Jason Williams: Miami has been looking to deal him in a continual attempt to get younger and rumors have had Mickael Pietrus headed to the Heat in a sign-and-trade (though they’re probably just rumors). While Williams and his great assist-to-turnover ratio would be a great fit in Nellie’s uptempo offense, would he and his salary want to be a backup?
- Gary Payton: The Oakland native is probably available, but it’s doubtful he’s got enough in the tank to run with the W’s.
- One of Houston’s nine point guards: Rafer “Stabby” Alston, Aaron Brooks, Mike James, John Lucas, Bob Sura (really) and Luther Head are all on the Rockets’ roster and can all run the point, even though T-Mac handles the ball most of the time. God knows they’ll look to toss one. Luther Head would be a great fit; even if he’s not a true PG, he can shoot the lights out.
- Carlos Arroyo: He’s never fit in with the Magic’s slow pace, but the pass-first Puerto Rican would be perfect in Nellieball.
- Jarret Jack: Portland’s got Steve Blake, Sergio Rodriguez and now Rudy Fernandez (not to mention Brandon Roy) in the backcourt; is JJ expendable?