9

Baron vs. Tony

You just knew Baron Davis, no matter how deserving he is to be an All-Star, wasn’t going to find his way on the roster. Now, it would’ve been easier to swallow had he been passed over for Allen Iverson, Josh Howard and Carmelo Anthony. But to see Tony Parker invited to represent the NBA’s best in Las Vegas, and not Davis, is just humiliating. It’s almost as bad as Luke Ridnour being invited to try out for Team USA over Baron. So, how did Parker wind up an All-Star and Davis didn’t? The truthful answer is, I have no idea,
It wasn’t a matter of numbers. If that was the case, Davis wins in a landslide. Baron averages more than Parker in points (20.5 to 19.0), assists (8.7 to 5.6), rebounds (4.6 to 3.2), steals (2.05 to 0.98), blocks (.49 to .09) and minutes (37.3 to 33.4). The only categories Parker has the advantage is field goal percentage (52.8 to Baron’s 42.4), free throw percentage (78.5 to Baron’s 73.3) and turnovers (2.61 to Baron’s 3.02).
Plus, if it was just on numbers, Melo had both of them beat.
You could argue that Parker does what he does for a better team. But if the team’s success was the deciding factor, Josh Howard — whose Mavericks have the best record in the NBA — has both of them beat. Plus, in my opinion, it’s more All-Star worthy to be the best player on an playoff-contending team (though you can barely place that label on the Warriors) than to be the second-best player on a winning team. You could even make the case that Parker is the Spurs’ third best player, behind Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili.
No matter how you put it, if there was to be a third guard selected as a reserve, it should have been Baron. It could even be argued that Baron deserved a spot more than Allen Iverson, who has played just 19 games in the West.
But, I guess that’s the price Baron pays for being a Warrior.

Marcus Thompson

  • sean

    baron’s weakness is his shooting percentage. he shoots 40% and has NO dependable move. if he drives all the time he’s liable to get hurt. there was already a discussion about how you can’t win with him taking the last shot. sure tony parker doesn’t deserve it over him, but baron’s game isn’t that tight. if it was we wouldn’t be this bad.

  • frenchfan

    53% FOR A GUARD 2 YEAR IN A ROW IT’S HISTORIC FOR A GUARD. AND TONY PLAY FOR THE SPURS . 42% baron davis . parker has improved his jump shot his rebonds his free trow shooting his turnovers

  • commish

    Hey, Marcus, tell us how you really feel! Seriously, you are so right on. I also agree with your CC Times article about coming up with other ways–any other way–to make the All Star voting more fair and balanced, just like Fox News.

  • Menudo Terremoto Williams

    Everyone has an opinion on who should and shouldn’t be an all-star. The vox populi had its say with the starters. The bench is left to the true experts — NBA coaches.

    Every NBA coach immerses himself in NBA basketball far more than even the most informed fan. They follow the game for their livelihood, interact with the players on a daily basis, and witness the influence of a player on the court beyond the rigid limitations of statistics.

    Finally, in reference to the abovementioned arguments, statistics can never be used as the sole criteria to evaluate players. There are intangibles that cannot be quantified: Controlling the flow of a game, position defense, help defense, calling the right play at the right time, box outs and huevos in the 4th.

    I always enjoy the naming of the All-Star bench because it is always an informed selection not based on shoe contracts, hype, gaudy statistics or Sportscenter highlights, but rather on a holistic view of a player’s influence on the court.

    Tony Parker, congratulations on another well-deserved All-Star appearance.

  • Andrew Rosenblum

    To Menudo Terremoto Williams,

    I take issue with your hagiographic view of Tony Parker, whose game is utterly one-dimensional (i.e. he can get the hoop, but can’t shoot or pass at an All-Star level).

    Also, you’re not really arguing, you’re making an appeal to the authority of others, NBA coaches.

    You believe that members of this motley crew have a god’s-eye view in appraising talent. Why do you think they get fired so much? Have you taken a look at what Isaiah’s done re-modelling the Knicks? How about Bob Hill running the Sonics into the ground? Sportswriters also follow the game for a living — and rabid fans often have good insights too. They also make mistakes, just like coaches.

    What matters is the quality of the argument, not vague appeals to the holistic genius of NBA coaches. Marcus’s point, which I second, is that Tony Parker is good, but WAY overated by virtue of the fact that he plays well for one of the most disciplined teams in the NBA. Having Eva Longoria on his arm doesn’t hurt either. If you could give an All-Star selection to “The Spurs’ defense” or to “The Spurs’ ball movement,” they’d have my vote.

    Tim Duncan is a legitimate All-Star. Manu Ginobilli could be if he weren’t hurt so this season, as could Carmelo Anthony, Josh Howard, Elton Brand. A case could be made even for Zach Randolph. But Tony Parker? Not so much.

  • JustPuked

    The reality is we’re comparing to players with the ability to drastically influence the game, but with very real flaws. Between the two I’d rather have Tony that Baron, please let me explain.

    Because of work, I’m between SA and the Bay Area all the time and so I’ve watched a ton of games for both the Spurs and Warriors. While that doesn’t make me an expert it at least qualifies me as a qualified observer.

    Tony has the ability to break down defenses and for repeated layups and short flips. He goes to the free throw line repeatedly and then converts at a high percentage. He’s a one man fast break on a team that has to rely solely on him for fast break points. His penetration is so pervasive that the entire opposing team ends up edging over to stop him. This allows his teammates to exploit the distracted defense when moving without the ball to either get in position for their own shots, or crash the boards when he goes to the hoop. Sure, TP isn’t making his teammates better because he passes off the drive so rarely but he ends up making his teammates better indirectly because of how the opposing defense ends up being forced to concentrate on him.

    Baron on the other hand is a multi faceted talent. He’s ability to bull his way to the hoop either for layup and for dishes makes him a dominate player. His sheer athletic ability allows his to post up players taller than him and he looks to get other players involved instead of only looking for his own shot. Davis also has so very bad habits. I don’t have any other way to explain it but he seems to get tired, bored or distracted but for stretches of the game he just kinda walks around, throws the ball around and heave up outside shots. Sure he seems to have the ability to dominate a game as thoroughly as Dwayne Wade, but he doesn’t. I’ve heard the argument that he doesn’t trust his teammates, so maybe that will get better post trade. Now if when he goes into his stretches of listlessness he was as pure a shooter as Nash, we wouldn’t be having this discussion but he’s a lousy outside shooter.

    Now Parker isn’t an amazing three point shooter but right now I trust him more with his default shot, a 17 foot jumper from the free line extended than I do Davis from his default shot a fall away three from the top of the key. Even with the point differential, it’s a plus for Tony. On top of which, most of Baron’s jumpers are either way to early in the possession or forced heaves at the end of the possession.

    Basically, I see Tony as a guy that continually imposes his will on the pace and flow of the game and his presence makes it easier for his team to win while Baron can completely dominate the game but just doesn’t for long stretches of the game and when he’s not dominating, he fails to markedly improve his teammates. I’m not saying it’s not close, but I gotta go with Tony.

    Now before you go saying I’m a fanboy, I’m Oakland all the way. Besides a secondary affiliation to the Lakers from my dad, the Warriors are my one true love. I really do not like the Spurs at all and I watch their games, delighting more that they’ve lost than that the other team has won. But as a basketball fan, I call them like I see them. Yes Baron CAN be and sometimes IS clearly the better player, he just doesn’t do it consistently enough get the nod over Tony Parker. Hey, maybe Baron can use the rest to hit the ground running for the final 30 games.

  • Marcus Thompson

    I think this argument can be settled with one hypothetical scenario: switched teams.
    Would the Warriors be better or worse or the same with Tony Parker at point? Would the Spurs be better or worse or the same with Baron Davis as their point guard?
    I agree. Tony is a difference-maker, a game-changer, even as a one-trick pony. But his penetration would be stifled if not for Duncan and Ginobili. Teams would just trap him and sag off of him (as they do Baron). Could he average nine assists with teammates such as Dunleavy, Murphy, Pietrus and Foyle – as Davis did last season? Could Parker, when the defense is playing him for the drive, switch it up and take his man in the post? Can he defend his position and create turnovers as does Baron (when he wants to)? Could Parker put up career numbers with every opponent focusing on him, realizing if they stop him, they stop his team?
    All-Star games are about individuality. It’s the one NBA event designed to play up the solo acts. Baron is the better talent and is having the better season.

  • JustPuked

    Here are a few comments from other bloggers concerning the benifits of NOT having Baron Davis in the game:

    By Adam Lauridsen
    Monday, February 5th, 2007 at 11:14 pm
    Did Baron’s absence help or hurt this team tonight? On any given night the Warriors obviously need Baron healthy to be at their best. But on this road trip, with the offense sputtering and lots of guys looking to get something started, Baron’s absence may have cleared the way for other guys to be leaders. Jackson, Monta, Harrington, and Andris all stepped up with great games. With Baron on the court, guys like Jackson and Andris probably get half as many touches. I think this point also overlaps with the Warriors’ offensive consistency issues. Monday night, the Warriors led from start to finish and never let the Pacers within 15 or so after the first quarter. The Pacers made numerous surges but a different Warrior stepped up each time to push them back with clutch plays. I’ve been convinced all season that Davis makes this team’s cold stretches worse, mainly because he tries to shoot the Warriors out of them with the rest of the Warriors standing around watching. Without Davis, everyone has to lend a hand to keep the boat afloat. There’s enough talent on this team right now that they can weather Baron’s absence for a few games. (This theory doesn’t apply, however, when Baron plays most of the game and then gets sidelined in crunch time. It’s the worst case scenario: guys who haven’t had many touches for the first 40 minutes are suddenly thrust into taking big shots.)

    LRG Says:
    February 6th, 2007 at 6:04 am
    Adam:

    Thank you again for raising the issue: are the Warriors better off without Baron Davis.

    While I give him his “cudos” for some great performances this year, your analysis about the ball being better distributed amongst the entire team, and more players contributing to the team effort when is not on the floor, can not be ignored. I seem to recall that the Warriors played this way earlier in the year when Davis missed two or three games, and won. I like seeing everyone involved, as opposed to Davis pounding the ball on the floor while everyone stands around waiting for him to “do something”.

    While I believe he is a great athlete, he still has a school yard mentality and does not serve the primary role of a PG of distributing the ball and getting everyone involved. I suspect, however, that is how he is viewed around the league which makes his trade value not very high (except maybe to Isiah Thomas!)

    James Taylor Says:
    February 6th, 2007 at 8:39 am
    The worst part of any Warriors game is when Davis gets in one of his “moods” and starts chucking up 3’s. At least that couldn’t happen last night with him on the bench.

    Pistol Pete Says:
    February 6th, 2007 at 9:25 am
    It was really nice to go one night without being forced to watch The Baron Davis Brick Parade, Damn he could be so good if he never ever shot the ball.

  • JustPuked

    I agree with you that he is the greater talent. He just doesn’t bring it every night. In comparison, Tony is punching the clock with regularity. I just don’t see rewarding Baron for being a sometimes on All Star and a way to often passive observer. IMHO. That being said, I’d rather have BD than Tony on the Warriors.