Knicks G Ron Baker has made the most of his chance with the Knicks and feels fortunate to be where he is.
"I come from a town of 200 people, blue-collar [place]," Baker said, according to the NY Post. "I always dreamed to be here. In high school I lost that dream. I was 5-foot-8, 5-foot-9."
The 24-year-old Baker, who went undrafted out of Wichita State, has averaged 4.1 points and 2.0 assists while averaging 16.2 minutes in 51 games this season.
His role has increased lately with all the roster turnover and injuries. Baker played 38 minutes on Sunday against the Raptors, scoring 11 points to go along with eight assists and eight rebounds.
Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek said Baker is making "tremendous strides," and Baker said he's getting more confident.
"My confidence is growing each game as a player," he said. "Confidence is something that I've tried to find throughout my career. I'm just trying to do things in a simple way, make simple plays, make sure everybody is on the same page."
Baker has been tasked with playing a much bigger role than he normally would as the season has winded down. This has given the Knicks an opportunity to see some of his special strengths, as well as some areas for improvement.
Baker's a smart offensive player but doesn't really have much zip in his step. When the Knicks need to push the pace, he's not going to be the guy to help them do that. But there's a calming presence about him when his teammates begin to get too overzealous. Baker's maturity is key on both ends of the floor. Defensively, he doesn't back down from defending notable veterans and is very physical for a guard.
It would take time for Baker to really scratch the surface and break in as a rotation guard on a contending team. There's still much to learn. And looking around the league, there are probably plenty of Ron Baker's to be found. Nevertheless, there's something to be said about players with a hard work ethic. He's already begun to learn the Knicks' system and the coaching staff loves him.
As this team continues to build, doing so organically with prospects from the ground up offers value too. It allows a team to say they "found" a given prospect. They've already begun to put in the time and have invested in his development. Keeping Baker in the fold would also help develop continuity, which should be an advantage for him as the summer unfolds.