The acquisition of Baron Davis is a huge move for the Knicks. There is no doubt about it.
To go out and sign a player with Davis' level of talent and garnered accolades, and bring him into a fold that already includes two bonafide All-Stars in Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, along with a first-rate defensive big man in Tyson Chandler, is surely an impressive accomplishment for the Knickerbocker front office.
Though Davis is a two-time All-Star himself, his most recent appearance came in 2004. Riddled with and weighed down by injuries for nearly the last seven seasons, the argument could certainly be made that his best years are very well behind him.
That's not to say Davis cannot and/or will not help improve his new team. In fact, that's exactly what he's arrived in New York to do: help the Knicks. "Helping" his new team, however, should not at any time be confused with saving and/or carrying them.
Davis is certainly not a long-term solution for the Knicks. A team doesn't need to take "a risk" on a long-term piece. The type of risk that the team took on Davis is perfectly fine, because they are simply looking for him to improve and aid the foundation already in place.
Though there have been conflicted reports regarding how many weeks Davis will initially sit out to start the season (the maximum suggestion being ten weeks), the fact of the matter is that Davis has arrived in New York with a back injury, and cannot be depended and/or leaned on to solve any real pressing issues for the Knicks.
Toney Douglas is the starting point guard. Entering his third year in the NBA, TD has already gotten votes of confidence from the likes of Anthony and Coach Mike D'Antoni. During his first two seasons, he has shown signs of explosiveness, a sweet stroke from behind the arc, and steady defensive skills.
However, the durable combo guard has also displayed questionable decision making on the court. Does Douglas have the necessary instincts to run the floor in D'Antoni's offense?
With so much offensive firepower already packed into the lineup, there is perhaps no better time than to grant Douglas his turn at point for a trial run. The fact that Anthony can handle the ball so effectively both in a half-court set, as well as the open floor, may very well take some pressure off Douglas as well. The time is now for the 25 year old.
With Douglas coming off a nice season, having averaged double-figures as the team's sixth man, the momentum is in his favor to become the full-time starter. This might mean that even when/if Davis is set to make his debut for the Knicks, he may very well do so coming off the pine.
Given his extensive injury history, along with this season's compacted schedule (one that is sure to exhaust even the most healthy and in shape athletes), perhaps Davis' explosiveness will be better preserved in spurts. As it stands, he only averaged 28 minutes through 58 games last season.
Of course, the Knicks can let B-Diddy loose when need be, but the priority needs to maintaining him so that he only proves to make an even bigger impact when it really matters.
Furthermore, though a smaller role may reduce Davis' playing time, he may turn out to be more successful during the minutes in which he actually
does take the court. Bringing Davis off the bench would not only provide the Knicks with a more balanced lineup from A-Z, but also allow him to dominate while matching up against opponents' weaker players.
The signing of Davis itself was a no-brainer for the Knicks, and for doing so the front office should be commended. How well Mike D'Antoni and his coaching staff utilizes the 2007 NBA Playoffs hero remains to be seen, however.
Davis stands to help the Knicks in a variety of ways, if only he is viewed as an elevator, rather than the savior.