Good to be back. All quiet on the Clipper front, as expected, after an extremely busy July. I've been lurking for a few days, and nothing seems to be going on. There are still some things that should be classified as minor roster moves out there: no movement after the slightly bizarre "mutual" withdrawl of the QO to Fazekas, no hard news on Livingston yet, and only 12 roster spots officially spoken for (unless I'm mistaken). But imo this is all small change.
Shouldn't we be talking about Baron Davis?
I don't have all of the story lines by any means, so look at this as an invitation to create some. BD is the big story, by far, of the Clippers tumultuous offseason. We've covered it extensively, of course, but much of it was done in the shadow of the FElton debacle, and then trying to figure out how to plug the PF hole, which was deftly accomplished by the Camby deal.
So it just seems like we haven't taken the time to consider and appreciate the fact that Baron Davis is a Clipper, and that he'll be the leader of the team and the face of the franchise when the season starts and for some time to come. This is a major acquisition, completely unprecedented in Clipper annals, and it seems to be an extremely tight fit for the Clippers' needs and roster.
There are a couple of storylines that I keep thinking about and coming back to. One is the idea, perhaps mentioned by Chad Ford but I've seen it elsewhere, that BD is an injury-plagued player and whatever his abilities might be at this point, in five years his contract will certainly be burdensome and overvalued. My own response to this is that Mark Cuban made the same mistake with Steve Nash. Nash was "old" and had a tricky back, and Cuban thought that his best years were clearly behind him. That didn't turn out to be the case. The Clips' deal with BD is hardly comparable to the recent Dallas deal for JKidd--and that deal actually represents how a player like Davis will probably have significant trade value as he nears the end of his contract. But my own hope is that BD will, well, blow up and be the best thing that has ever happened to the Clippers, playing with the best supporting cast now and for the next five years, taking the opportunity to build the first true Clipper legacy.
PG is a cerebral position that combines skill with strength and athleticism. The effectiveness of Sam Cassell a couple years ago is one example, but we've seen how Nash and John Stockton were able to play at the highest level towards the end of their careers. Kidd is an example of a player whose game originally consisted of great athleticism, who has been able to remain effective even after significant injuries. One of the important factors in this advanced equation is the makeup of a "true PG," as opposed to a combo guard or converted SG. The position is about running a team and creating opportunities for the entire unit, and a big part of success derives from the mental aspect of controlling tempo and going into crunchtime with confidence. The transformation of the Clippers under Cassell, from a team that routinely squandered 4th quarter leads and gave up road games much too easily, into a highly competitive and confident playoff squad, was a perfect example that we all know quite well. Davis is better, younger, stronger, more versatile, and just as fearless and clutch, and we should expect even better results.
The other thing I keep coming back to is the way in which BD is a native son who has embraced the opportunity to become the face of the franchise and turn the Clippers into an elite team that can compete with the guys down the hallway. The FElton debacle is unfortunate because it has taken away from anticipation of the excitement and special moment that will occur when BD walks onto the floor of Staples in a Clipper uniform. I read somewhere that BD was the irreplaceable heart and soul of the extraordinary "we believe" GSW experience, and that effect will be compounded by him playing in his hometown and on a team with excellent big men, a strong defensive presence, and talented wing players young and old. There were all sorts of conversations about "relevance" when BD first signed, which faded away after FElton bolted, but they still apply. The Clips have an essential difference-maker as their leader now, they have a strong roster, and they will be highly competitive. BD isn't just easy to market, he's a star. The Clippers are going to matter.
You all know that I could go on and on, and work myself up into a frenzy. But what do you think? What do you know and remember and like about BD and his effect on the Clips and their prospects?
Consider Club Optimism open for business, with Baron Davis standing at the door and welcoming you with the warmest of greetings.