Ron Baker, the undrafted rookie from Wichita State University had a career game when it mattered most. This was not only for the sake of a playoff seed, but also to secure a position with the New York Knicks for the rest of the ’16-’17 season. Baker was on a non-guaranteed contract and with Chanson Randle playing well for Westchester – the Knicks D-League affiliate – his future was not certain. Now, his future is.
Ron Baker: A Diamond in The Rough
Coming on to start the fourth the Knicks were down by 13 points. A Ron Baker lay-up cut the deficit to within ten points early in the fourth quarter. This seemed to energize the Knicks as they tore away the deficit in a matter of minutes. Two free throws from Baker saw the game within four points and the Knicks come back was alive. The game eventually came down to the wire. The Bucks had the ball with two possessions remaining. Lance Thomas was able to tip the ball away and dive on it. He found Baker with an outlet pass which resulted in a slam from Courtney Lee to seal the deal.
“Obviously it’s a lot of fun, a lot more fun to win, to be in a tight game like this,’’ Baker said. “It gets the nerves going a little bit. But to get this game under my belt and get my first true win as an NBA player feels good.”
Coach Hornacek reportedly said he had a hunch Baker could run the triangle offense and get Carmelo Anthony the ball where he wanted it. He also said that his size could possibly slow the Bucks down. It’s for this reason that he apparently ‘wanted’ Baker to play the entire 4th quarter.
Baker was quickly becoming a crowd favourite with his enthralling side line celebrations along with the hustle and heart he plays with when he gets out onto the court. He’s an incarnation of the 90’s Knicks.
He even earned praised from his teammate, Carmelo Anthony:
“Amazing minutes, big minutes. One of the biggest reasons we came out with this victory. Any time you give us major minutes and be a big part of what we were doing out here, he showed something tonight.’’
If Baker keeps up his recent play then he has the potential to join the ranks of the undrafted greats alongside former Knick Jeremy Lin who became the biggest star in the NBA for a short while. However, while I don’t expect Baker to become the next ‘Linsanity’, the future does remain very bright for the young guard.