NBA, The NBA's 30 Best Go-To Players / Sep 28, 2009 / 2:57 pm

The NBA’s 30 best go-to players (#21: Baron Davis)

Baron Davis

Baron Davis

Every NBA team has a go-to guy, and there’s really only room for one. And it’s not strictly who takes the last-second shot. It’s the guy who regularly gets the ball when things are getting tense in the fourth; the guy expected to calm things down when teammates are getting sloppy; the guy called upon to snuff out an opponent’s rally, or spark a rally of his own; the guy who’s not just supposed to make shots, but make the right decisions. Bottom line: Who do you want the offense to run through when everything is on the line? From #30 to #1, these are the League’s best go-to guys…

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#21: BARON DAVIS, L.A. Clippers

JUDGE: We will now hear closing arguments in the case of Baron Davis…

PROSECUTION: Baron should be lower than this. Did you see him last year? He was TERRIBLE. The most talented player the Clippers have had since Dominique Wilkins dropped by for a cup of apple drink in 1994 somehow made the team even worse when he was supposed to be the savior

He couldn’t hit a shot to save his life (35% FG, 30% 3PA), and what’s worse, he didn’t even look like he cared. The guy with a history of injuries conveniently played a whole 82 when he was in his contract year with Golden State, and then last year went back to his same broke-down routine, missing 17 games with various health problems. When he was on the court, Baron was the worst go-to player in the League, period. Seriously, look it up. His crunch-time performance (14.7 points per 48 minutes of clutch, 20% FG) was worse than Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. He acted like the paint was full of piranhas, and when he did take a break from jacking ill-advised threes, he couldn’t even make layups; Baron made 49% of “inside shots” according to 82games.com.

Baron has been overrated throughout his career, with people letting a few highlight dunks trick them into thinking he’s an elite point guard and a legit go-to guy. He’s not. In the past five years, Baron has led a team to the playoffs once. He can’t stay healthy. He’s often out of shape, or not in the best shape he could be. His shot selection is terrible, and he only cares when things are going his way. You think the Clippers aren’t regretting signing him to that monster contract last year? Shit, they’d be better off with Sammy Davis playing point guard.

DEFENSE: Baron should be higher than this. He is undeniably one of the best PG’s in the world and a true leader. Remember his run with the ’07 Warriors? Baron took an eighth seed to only the third-ever upset of a No. 1 seed in NBA playoff history, and there was no doubt that team was his team. He was the definition of a go-to guy, whether it was coming up with clutch plays, producing momentum-building moments, and leading with his emotions on his sleeve. You’ve seen how bad the Warriors — with pretty much the same core unit — have been since Baron left, right?

With his strength, explosiveness, speed and fearless attitude, Baron is a force on the court. I can’t think of one point guard who can check him one-on-one and hold him down. He can knock down threes if you play off him, break ankles if you crowd him, and dunk on 7-footers if you mistime your jump.

Was Baron in top form last year? Of course not. But everyone has slumps. It’s not like he forgot how to shoot, and the haters always forget to mention that BD did hand out 10.9 assists per 48 minutes of “clutch time,” fourth-best in the League — in other words, at least Baron knew he was struggling with his shot, so he was making things happen and getting his teammates shots to give the Clippers a chance to win.

And come on, did you see what he was working with? If your best teammate was Zach Randolph, one of your other top options was the reincarnation of Corey Maggette, your coach was arguably the most incompetent coach in the League, and you just went from playing your home games in the rock-concert atmosphere that is Golden State’s Oracle Arena to the morgue-with-beer-and-chips that is Staples Center when “Clippers” is covering midcourt, you’d be in a funk, too. But Baron is ready to dominate again this year. He’s publicly stated the Clippers are his team, and he’s in shape and motivated with some improved talent around him, e.g. Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin.

Sleep on him if you want, but go ahead and ask Dirk Nowitzki and Andrei Kirilenko what happens when you underestimate Baron Davis.

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22. Michael Redd
23. Devin Harris
24. Kevin Martin
25. Al Jefferson
26. O.J. Mayo
27. Stephen Jackson
28. Nate Robinson
29. Boris Diaw
30. Rip Hamilton

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  • Mister A


  • JA

    “It’s not like he forgot how to shoot”.

    Career avgs of
    FG: 0.409
    3pt: 0.323
    FT: 0.697
    say he’s never know how to shoot

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    he’s a ‘winner’ for sure . . . we all remember that GAME 3 dunk he had on kirilekno . . . how many of us forgot his end of GAME 4 cheap shot elbow to the back of Fisher’s head in the back court 40 feet away from the ball, that dropped Derek? (you know, that game in arco where the jazz won handidly, including things like AK stealing inbounds passes in the 4th — defense wins)

    you can’t spell sore loser without baron davis.

  • Devo

    Boom Dizzle is a good point guard under the right conditions. But, the dude completely gives up if things aren’t going his way. Sure Dunleavy is probably the worst coach in the league, his crunch time play all season was to give the ball to Baron and see what happens.

    But, that also puts the fault back on Baron for his subpar season. Also, the whole Corey Maggette thing is fiction, dude. Those two never played a game together.

    With Eric Gordon, Al Thorton, Camby, Kaman, and now Blake Griffin he doesn’t really have an excuse for another bad season. Clippers should have the firepower to reach the playoffs, maybe even the 2nd round depending on the matchup. But just like every other year they will most likely be in the lottery. And Baron will be responsible for it

  • chitown hoops

    My first reaction to this was no way in hell, but I looked at the Clippers and who else can you pick? Camby, Kaman, Thorton? Gordon is the only one close but is only entering his second year. DIME will take a lot of crap for this pick but who else would you pick?

    Griffin doesnt count before someone tries that one.

  • Ian

    the mini antoine walker dude sucks

  • the cynic


    Baron needs a good clipper nickname and I think mini antoine walker is perfect

  • sh!tfaced

    No “bow-legged gait” commentary? LOL.

    The DEFENSE forgot to mention that Baron was also working with Ricky Davis too.

    And not only is Mike Dunleavy incompetent, he’s also one paranoid coach. He always thinks some player is gonna feud with him and someone is out to get him and his job.

  • Derik

    I would take Eric Gordon over Davis and rank him at #19.

  • Jake

    Cant say I agree. Honestly I think I’d have to take Eric Gordon over Baron Davis which is pretty sad to say but true(because he’s a rookie). I think he’s been overrated most of his career. Granted, I’m not hating on him, he can be entertaining to watch at times. And he was injured alot to boot. But I think he’s been overrated for alot of his career because he is entertaining. He definitely didnt deserve the $65 mil he got.

    The thing is that people honestly believe that the Clippers have a chance to make the playoffs this season. Granted the addition of Blake Griffin sets sights high, along with growth from Eric Gordon, and a solid core of Thorton, Camby, and Kaman. But I honestly believe it’ll be another crappy season. Mike Dunleavy is a terrible coach and the management of this team is simply atrocious. Just read this article ESPN wrote on Donald Sterling.


    Granted, I know that the owner simply writes the checks and doesnt have influence in terms of how players play, but when an owner is this HORRIBLE, the franchise is gonna have SERIOUS problems. I honestly believe it trickles down to the players on a personal level. Just look at all the #1 draft picks that were absolute busts for the Clippers. While I think Davis is overrated, I feel sorry for the guy when he has to deal with management like this. He did sign the check though…

  • The B-52’s


    The article says that Al Thornton is a Corey Maggette reincarnate, not that Maggette played with Baron Davis.

  • Bojangles

    C’mon lets be serious…most talented player the clips have had since 1994? He replaced a guy named Elton Brand. Despite the last few years of injuries, Brand put in some pretty great seasons for some bad clippers teams and led the clips their most memorable season in years.

    Also love the comment about BDiddy not forgetting how to shoot. Yeah he didn’t forget that, but maybe he did forget that the goal of chucking the ball towards the hoop is for it to go through the net.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @Bojangles — I wasn’t trying to ignore Brand, I just see him as more of a workhorse than a raw talent. As far as straight-up talent, I think Baron has been their best guy since ‘Nique. Unless you want to throw Odom on there.

  • D-NICE


  • jon


    (u0 right lookin at his career numbas he cant shoot) and baron is a point that has to b n control of the team come game time could b n better shape but he is a legit go to guy even we he was wit charlote he’s the reason they look at replays on buzzer beaters remember round one against the magic what was that the 02 playoffs i think but he can b a go 2 guy a good one at that

  • SIR_SILK23


  • doc

    I dont think B-Diddy the go to guy over EG.To lazy to depend on.

  • cdubb

    This guy shouldn´t be on that list. He´s definitely a good player, but when you look at those W-L columns or his shooting stats, it doesn´t look to good for him. Sure he had a nice run with the Warriors in 07. But he never won much over the course of his 10 year run. And if you take a clear look at his game, you gotta realize that b diddy is settling on his jumper way too much. it isn´t that fancy crossover or his penetration. He shoots it from beyond the arc most of the time. I mean come on, this guy averaged like 8 threes a game and hit .30. And this makes him no 21 on yo list? You gotta be kidding me, DIME.