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NBA Analysis: What Will Baron Davis Do for Cavs?

Kelly Dwyer makes me sad about the Baron Davis to Cleveland move:

Think about Baron Davis’ NBA timeline, and think of the good, heady, on-point play he’s provided. There’s his second year, after his coach Paul Silas shamed Davis as a rookie by starting David Wesley ahead of him. 2000-01, as well, and parts of the start of next season. That fabled 2006-07 turn, when Baron Davis was everyone’s second favorite player. In spurts, at times, for the last two months; though it should be noted that Davis in no way resembled what we saw in 2007 after working his way into shape last December.

Beyond that? He’s been a consistent letdown, a consistent millstone on both ends, firing way too many three-pointers at terrible percentage rates, and allowing defenders to blow by him constantly. And this was in Los Angeles, his hometown, with his producer buddies observing his embarrassing play. How is he going to do in Cleveland? Worse, how is he going to do in Cleveland in 2013? Baron Davis has been playing like an apathetic 34-year old since he was 25, how’s he going to do when he’s actually 34?

Compounding all of this is Cleveland’s coach, Byron Scott. I’m not sure Cleveland GM Chris Grant understands that Byron actually did coach for the New Orleans Hornets for years (otherwise he wouldn’t have hired the guy, regardless of his time spent with Davis), and he certainly can’t be buying whatever bunk Byron told him yesterday about him and Davis getting along this time around. That never, ever happens.

I appreciate Grant doing what he can under Gilbert’s rule, but this is just too much to take in. This isn’t just an overpaid vet, and the price of doing business. This is someone who will turn off your fans, and his teammates. As Davis has done in every stop he’s been to.

In return, the Cavaliers gave up Mo Williams. No, they could have given up Williams last summer, instead of ridiculously assuming that this team had a playoff core, but instead they decided to let an out of shape and unhappy-without-LeBron Williams show up to camp, play iffy basketball, and routinely injure himself because of his weight issues. With his value at an all-time low, Cleveland sells, sells, sells!

What do they get? A Clipper lottery pick, which would be a pretty good thing in just about any other year. The problem is that this is one of the worst drafts in memory. It’s the job of a Draftnik to keep interest in drafts high, even if the upcoming draft in question looks terrible, so they routinely have to pump thin drafts up. And yet Draftniks have been all over Twitter these last few days mocking the mock drafts that they’re going to hold their nose and put together as June approaches. Even they admit that the 2011 draft will be bunko.

The pick is unprotected, which means the selection (currently eighth overall) could vault into the top three. There is a less than five percent chance of that happening, but it has happened before — Baron Davis wouldn’t have been drafted by the Hornets were it not for such a jump. But these jumps are rare, and currently has the eighth selectionbeing used on Donatas Motiejunas. Which is just ridiculous, becauseeverybody knows that Kawhi Leonard is going eighth. Come on!

While Dwyer is harsh, there’s not a whole lot I can disagree with.  My only real quibble is the paragraph I have bolded. So say the Cavs traded Mo Williams last summer right after LeBron made his move. They’re really gonna get an unprotected first round pick (or better?!) for Mo Williams? Really?

But ya, Davis has been a cancer, has fought with Byron Scott in the past and coasts on both ends of the floor. The Cavs (assuming they don’t have any delusions of granduer) basically paid $12 million for a lottery pick in a fairly crappy draft.

That’s not terrible. Mo need to be gone and Jamario Moon wasn’t a long term solution.  And while I know the draft is mediocre, the Cavs will be needing to draft high for multiple years anyways (some guys may not come out due to the labor issues, making it even thinnger). The more young guys, the better.

So ya, I like adding the other first and I don’t really mind swapping one overpaid, slighly overweight point guard for one who is a little more overweight and overpaid if it means getting a top 10 pick. That’s not terrible.

But this deal is going to hinge on what other moves they make. If they use their trade exception on someone like Gerald Wallace or Andre Iguodala, then hope is lost. If they continute to stockpile picks by taking on short term money, then good- free agents aren’t coming here anyways. The cap won’t be an issue until they’re ready to compete.

And they shouldn’t be ready for a couple years. Hopefully.

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