Spending parts of the last eight seasons in the minor league, Moe Baker has already accomplished quite a bit. He's won a D-League championship, been an All-Star, and has even appeared in five NBA games over the years.
For most players, such success would be enough to be content, despite the failure to stick around in The Association. Nevertheless, the 35 year has continued on, with his hunger to do so perhaps propelled by a hope for a second minor league title.
Most 35 year olds, especially in the D-League, would probably just be happy to be part of the ride. They'd most likely be coaching at this point, as a matter of fact. As a staple of the Santa Cruz Warriors (dating all the way back to their days as the Dakota Wizards), Baker is quite a popular and friendly face. Fans just like seeing him around, even if he doesn't get to play all too much.
Nevertheless, it's no surprise that Baker has plenty of gas left in his basketball tank. He's the kind of well-respected veteran that still puts just as much work into his game (and arguably even in his respective development, so to speak) as he did on day one of his journey way back when. The guard is the first guy into the gym for practice, shoot-around, workouts, etc., as well as the last one out, consistently.
It's par for the course for a D-League team to face constant adjustments when dealing with player injuries, NBA call-ups, and/or midseason international moves. This season is no different for Santa Cruz, but as fate would have it, Baker has come to the rescue.
After not playing any more than ten minutes in a given contest leading up to January 21st, Baker was thrust into the lineup. Luckily he hasn't disappointed. Instead, he's been pleasantly surprising all those watching ever since. Dating back, he's averaged 11.5 points (on 53% from the field), 4.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals over his last six games. While such numbers aren't eye-popping by any means, each respective average would mark his highest in that respective category since the 2011-12 season (if they represented seasonal averages, of course). He's never shot that highly of a shooting percentage in his career.
As Baker continues to play better than expected, Santa Cruz continues to benefit. They're 4-2 over this stretch. Baker has only had a negative plus/minus in one of those contests.
Needless to say, the guard continues to prove his worth.