The Baron Davis Watch Officially Begins

Davis practiced for the first time on Monday

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012  |  Updated 9:26 AM EDT
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The waiting game is almost over.

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We're getting closer to Boom Day.

For those not versed in the language of Baron Davis, that would be the day that Davis takes the court in a Knicks uniform and gives the team the point guard they have been missing during their 6-10 start to their season.

Davis took part in a full practice for the first time in nine months on Monday and the time off certainly took its toll.

"I couldn't play dead right now in a movie if I was asked to," Davis told the Times after the workout. There's nothing set in stone, but if Davis progresses well enough to impersonate a corpse this week there's a chance he could play in a game during the current four-game road trip.

Davis' long layoff and his back injury make it hard to believe he is going to hit the ground at full speed and suddenly turn the Knicks offense into the envy of the league. Davis will need to round into form, and he's still Baron Davis rather than the mix of Steve Nash, John Stockton and Oscar Robertson that he's been built up into during his absence.

So, it's probably best to tamp down any talk of Davis being the savior for the Knicks season. But the fact that he's just getting back on the court for the first time in nine months isn't the only reason to shelve such discussions.

When you look at the performance of the Knicks offense, the need for a floor general who can direct traffic and get players into the right spots is glaringly obvious. But Davis isn't going to be able to make Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire start hitting shots at a rate commensurate with what they've done in the past.

For all the talk about the dysfunctional relationship between the two star players, it's surprising that more attention hasn't been paid to the fact that the two players simply aren't hitting enough of their shots.

Some of these shots are bad shots and some of them are contested shots, but plenty of them are easy, makable attempts that Melo and Amar'e are simply bricking.

The 15-footer that Stoudemire made his bread and butter last season has completely disappeared and his accuracy closer to the basket isn't what it was last year.

Excuses/reasons for this drop in production have been offered up from every angle, but few of them mention the possibility that Stoudemire blundered by adding so much muscle instead of working on his game during the lockout or the chance that he's simply slumping.

As for Anthony, the fact that he's playing through injuries serves as an explanation for his low percentage if not his high volume of attempts. It's very hard to believe, regardless of Davis' contributions, that Anthony isn't going to start hitting more of his shots in the weeks and months to come this season.

That won't fix everything that's wrong with the offense, obviously, but it does alleviate some of the need to view Davis as the cure to everything that's wrong with the Knicks at this moment in time. The team certainly needs a point guard, which Davis will give them, but that's just part of what needs to happen for the Knicks to start performing at a higher level.

Shelve the savior talk and place the expectations where they need to be. The Knicks need help, which Davis should provide, but counting on him to fix everything is only setting yourself up to be disappointed in the long run.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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