Great update on the plight of former OSU guard Maurice Baker, who is reportedly turning heads with his play in the NBA Developmental League. In this short ESPN.com piece about Baker, Chris Sheridan writes that several NBA general mangers could use the versatile guard as a backup right now.
Baker has impressed scouts and GMs over the past several days throughout the D-League showcase in Boise, Idaho, where all 14 D-League teams gather for two games apiece over four days. In his first game, Baker had 41 points on 12 of 17 shooting (17 of 17 from the foul line) with six assists, six steals and no turnovers. He was matched up against Chicago Bulls second-round pick JamesOn Curry.
The next game, Baker scored 27 points with four steals, four assists and 15 rebounds while going head-to-head with Cavaliers second-year guard Shannon Brown.
Sheridan points out that teams such as Cleveland, Boston, Golden State, Toronto and Denver could use him.
Since Baker, now 27, played for the Cowboys he has played over in Lithuania, Turkey, Mexico, Syria and Russia. He’s also had brief regular season stints with the LA Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers as well as summer league appearances with the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets and Phoenix Suns.
“He has a huge heart, he’s not a great shooter but he is a great clutch shooter, and he’s one of the best rebounding guards I’ve ever seen,” Eric Chapman, who tracks minor league basketball players, told ESPN.com. “Finishing at the rim in traffic, that’s one part of the game he doesn’t have anymore since the ankle surgery, but he keeps getting it back little by little, and you can see it each game.”
Baker had ankle surgery in the summer of 2006, and Chapman thinks he’s 80 percent of the player he was before the surgery. My question is how close is he to being the player we knew him to be at OSU? Ironically enough, I spoke with former OSU coach Eddie Sutton about Baker just days before Sutton took the San Francisco job. Sutton marveled at Baker’s talent had and said he would/should have been some kind of special if not for the injuries during his college career.