After being hailed as the Clips' hometown savior, Baron Davis had an absolutely dismal performance last season. Equally dismal (probably more so) was the post- Boom Dizzle Golden State Warriors campaign. The mythically great future guaranteed with up-and-comers Brandan Wright ("his per 36 numbers mean he's going to blowup in 2k8-2k9!"), Andris Biedrins ("top 5, top 10, top something center!"), and Monta Ellis ("leader and superstar in the making!") reminded me of that old Public Enemy track- "Don't Believe the Hype". All the "promise" of the vets on this team Corey Maggette ("he keeps himself in far better shape than the injury-prone Boom Dizzle and will be a better influence on Monta!") and Stephen Jackson ("the Warriors started 1-6 in 2k7-2k8 while he was suspended- imagine if he was playing!") also reminded me of another classic P.E. joint- "Can't Truss It."
But let's focus on today's topic and that's about perceptions about injuries, games missed, and what really happened during the 2008-2009 Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers seasons. (Okay you probably know- a whole lotta suck!)
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Player A is Andris Biedrins
62 games played --> 20 games missed
This shot is probably outside of his range.
Player B is Monta Ellis
25 games played --> 57 games missed
Player C is Corey Maggette
51 games played --> 31 games missed
** Player D is Baron Davis **
65 games played --> 17 games missed
Good times man.
Player E is Stephen Jackson
59 games played --> 23 games missed
Player F is Brandan Wright
39 games played --> 43 games missed
62 games played --> 20 games missed
31 games played --> 51 games missed
36 games played --> 46 games missed
I nominate Ricky Davis as the perfect fit for the Golden State Warriors aka Clippers North. That nearly notched triple-double back in Cleveland was undoubtedly "Unstoppable Baby!"- esque.
50 games played --> 32 games missed
That's right folks. Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette, Stephen Jackson, and Brandan Wright ALL missed more games this past season than the "lazy", "injury prone", and "quitter" Baron Davis. BD's teammates on Warriors South Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, Ricky Davis, and Zach Randolph (combining Knicks
+ Clips games) ALL missed more games than him last season.
No one in their right mind is going to sit here and claim Baron Davis had a great 2008-2009 campaign, but the media depictions and "common wisdom" would have you believe that BD missed the most games out of these 10 Warriors and Clippers players last year. That's simply untrue.
Also, Robert Rowell's decision to let Baron Davis go because of health concerns did make some sense. But again following up BD's departure by outbidding on the services of an excellent, but injury-prone 6th man makes ZERO sense. I'd rather be paying $3 million a year for a PG who has All-Star potential and is a proven leader than a one-dimensional 6th man who plays in even less games.
"But just wait till the Warriors are healthy!"
Some very astute Warriors fans/ homers will point to all these missed games from Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette, Stephen Jackson, and Brandan Wright and project that the Warriors be undoubtedly best their 29 win total of this past season. That's a very valid position to hold, but with its complete dearth of ball handling, passing, defense, and a reasonable amount of hoops IQ this team is going to top out at about 38-40 wins. What's there to get excited about? A 9th-10th place finish? 15 out of 16 years under Chris Cohan's incompetence
missing the playoffs?
But let's put aside the (overly hopeful and probably irrational) health excuse. The odds are highly unlikely that this cast of players will play a full 82 games... ever.
Ankle issues for a young center who is overmatched physically every night by opposing big men is a real concern. I have a hard time believing that the ankle/ foot issues have been completely solved for Moped Ellis after all the games he missed post-suspension and reinstatement. Maggette has ALWAYS been injury prone over the course of his 10 seasons in the big leagues. In fact he has never managed to played even 80 games in a season. Jack was a real trooper last season, but he'll be entering next season at 31. He's most likely past his performance and health prime. Wright is not exactly the toughest big man out there. That fan favorite 2-guard they traded him (got ripped off) for is listed as being 20 pounds heavier than Wright.
What does this all mean?
The chances of that "glorious" 38-40 win total season (i.e. late lottery pick) with this current cast are probably pretty slim.
For what this means for the LA Clippers aka Warriors South my esteemed colleague Clipper Steve can break it down for you over at the fantastic Clips Nation