First point of business: Baron Davis's rehabilitation-- the conditioning part, not the spinal part-- is taking longer than expected and he might not be ready for another week or two. Shame on us, I suppose, for buying into the hype generated by reporters* while Mike D'Antoni and Baron himself were pretty consistently broadcasting an air of caution. Anyway, that hopefully means that Davis will be closer to prepared for a full serving of minutes when he takes the floor, but one never really knows.
Meanwhile, Toney Douglas made a handful of useful dribble drives last night and looked to be a slightly superior point guard to Iman Shumpert. That's a bit like saying "this swarm of eels that I've knotted together nose-to-tail makes a slightly better belt than a bunch of paperclips", but it's still a meaningful difference. D'Antoni himself commented on his two young non-point guards:
"Toney’s been playing the point guard better than Shump,’’ D’Antoni said before the game. "I think that today his best position will be the 2 or 3. He did a good job guarding LeBron James [Friday]. He’s learning the league. We’re learning where to play him. The 1 spot is not a natural one. It’s too much.’’
Indeed, Shump's looked a lot better playing as a two or as a three in a small lineup, and has defended his counterparts at those spots better as well. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Shump is off the ball entirely from here forward. Mike Bibby's been healthy for a few games in a row (woo!) and Jeremy Lin finally got to spin last night and looked to be at about Douglas's level as a point guard-- perhaps slightly better at getting into the paint off the dribble-- so perhaps he'll continue to get minutes at the one as well. Shit, it wouldn't be surprising if he ends up starting at some point. Yes. Jeremy Lin.
Don't rush, Baron, but uh...don't dawdle either. We'll just have to keep being patient, I suppose. (Or keep hyperventilating and demanding that Mike D'Antoni be ground up into dog food. Whatever works for you).
*Update: I've been in touch with Howard Beck since writing this post, and he makes the fair point that D'Antoni himself suggested that as soon as Davis was good to practice, he'd be ready to get spot minutes. It was harsh of me to put the blame for the Davis hype on the beat guys, who are merely the messengers. Sorry!