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With Davis, Warriors are Resurrected

All it takes is The One, and the graveyard becomes a playground.

The One can breathe life into a place dead for a decade and an object of pity or ridicule for nearly as long.

After 15 games in Oakland, it appears Baron Davis is The One for the Warriors.

Davis has given the Warriors the kind of cachet they have not had since 1994, when young and coltish Chris Webber was dealt away by a foolishly proud general manager/coach who had ingratiated himself with the goggle-eyed new owner.

Davis doesn't make the Warriors instant championship contenders, but the 25-year-old point guard is the reason they are back in the NBA. In a league where respect trumps all, including talent, the Warriors now take the court knowing they won't be disrespected.

"Everybody who's in the NBA is here because their talent is good enough," Davis says. "But respect among your peers is something each and every individual strives for. It's not about
the media. It's respect from your peers and the coaches in this league.

"It doesn't matter whether I make the All-Star team. It doesn't matter where people rank me among point guards. It might be fifth, sixth or third.It doesn't matter because I know every time I step on the floor, I have the respect of everybody on the floor, whether they like me or not. And that's where we're trying to get to as a team."
 

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Re: Article: With Davis, Warriors are Resurrected

The article continues on to compare Baron's impact to Jason Kidd and the Nets, as well as Steve Nash and the Suns. Those are quite lofty expectations of Baron, but I do believe he can have that type of impact on this team.
 

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Re: Article: With Davis, Warriors are Resurrected

Davis of Old Surfaces with New Team, Place

The problem with second chances is that it assumes you blew the first, and, as Baron Davis puts it, he "never sucked" with the Hornets.

He simply reached a breaking point in New Orleans, where he was unwilling and unable to get his body sorted out. Like Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, Davis was a star on a team he thought was going nowhere.

Like both, he wanted out.

"I wore out my welcome and I didn't want to be there anymore," Davis said. "Now it's a new beginning."

For all that Davis has brought to the Warriors, Golden State has given Davis what he wanted most: a clean slate.

When vice president Chris Mullin acquired Davis on Feb. 24, he did not do a background check, did not research the point guard's supposed attitude problems.

Mullin, who knows all about second chances, having conquered the drinking demons in his third year with Golden State, saw no reason to do so.

"I don't believe in trying to go back and fix something," Mullin said. "Let's try to make it from the day we start here. It's Day 1 of our relationship."

Day 1 has evolved into Day 35, and the Warriors are riding high. They open a two-game road trip in Milwaukee tonight having won five of their last six. Davis is praising his organization, and his organization is praising him. It is a lovefest in complete contrast with his New Orleans divorce.

As the story goes, Davis ruffled feathers there by requesting an offseason trade through his agent, Todd Ramasar. The situation worsened at training camp, when the Hornets, per new team policy, refused to allow his personal trainer into the practice facility. Davis protested one day by having his trainer stretch him on the concrete sidewalk.

The breaking point came a few months later and, strangely, involved Golden State. The Warriors played New Orleans on Feb. 11, the date Hornets coach Byron Scott had targeted for Davis to return from an Achilles tendon injury. When Davis sent word from Los Angeles that he was not ready to play, Scott expressed his frustration to reporters, and Davis responded by telling ESPN.com that he felt "unwanted."

The feeling apparently was mutual.
 

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Re: Article: With Davis, Warriors are Resurrected

Warriors Davis too Good to be True?

Last March, he was benched for being late to team meetings, and it has been alleged he sometimes disregards plays called by coaches. According to one New Orleans Times Picayune report, Davis brought his personal trainer to this season's training camp. When told he couldn't have a personal trainer in the facility, which the story said was news to Davis, he protested by having his trainer stretch him on the ground outside the arena.

Shortly thereafter, Davis told the local papers he wanted to be traded.

Things got much worse after Davis sustained a bruised right Achilles tendon in mid-January. He went to rehabilitate in Los Angeles but apparently was taking too long to recover to suit the Hornets.

According to the Times Picayune, Davis and the team had agreed on a post-All-Star-break date for Davis' return. The day before that designated date, Davis called the team trainer to say his lateral movement wasn't improving much and that he would miss the targeted return. Scott reportedly told him to stay in Los Angeles until he felt he was ready and has since made innuendoes about Davis milking the injury.

Davis played one game before the trade deadline after having told reporters he was going to be out for about two more weeks. He told the Times Picayune that he wanted to give Hornets fans a final chance to see him play.

"I look at it like when I was there in New Orleans, everything was cool," said Davis, a two-time All-Star with the Hornets. "Once Byron Scott got there (in May), Allan Bristow (became general manager in June), that's when everything started to go downhill and they started to put the blame on me. I wasn't the only guy that got hurt. I just felt that I was treated unfairly and I felt that they never had my back."

Former teammates of Davis' acknowledged that he could be a handful.

When asked what the Warriors got in Davis, Houston Rockets guard David Wesley, who shared a backcourt with Davis for four-plus seasons and swears by Davis' talent, said: "A box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get, right?

"I knew how tough that situation was (in New Orleans)," Wesley said. "He wasn't happy because they weren't happy with him. They weren't happy because he wasn't playing. When you have an unhappy star you never know what you're going to get from night to night. He wanted to go. He said it before the season started. You have to do what is necessary to make both sides happy."

Said Dallas Mavericks guard Darrell Armstrong, who also played with Davis in New Orleans: "He was young. He's still young (25) and he's still learning. He's learning how to be a leader. He's learning how to be a type (of) guy where guys are going to depend on him every night. It's not easy."

But from the Warriors' perspective, all that is smoke in the rearview mirror. They've got their point guard. They've got their star player. They've got their future.

The Warriors aren't the least bit worried about what went on before Feb. 24, 2005.

"Not at all. I mean, we stole him," Warriors assistant coach Mario Elie said, calling it a win-win situation even if Davis doesn't work out. "Everybody's calling us thieves because, you know, that was a hell of a deal for us. ... Of course, you never know, something may happen, but from what we've seen so far, we enjoy having him on the team."

As Montgomery said: "It's not my business."
 

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nice read, thx
 

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Davis has them Playing Like, Well, Warriors Again

In the team's past seven games, Davis has averaged nearly 25 points and more than nine assists, numbers that bring back memories of his glory days with the Hornets. The best part is he's flourishing at what he indicates is about 75-80 percent of his normal self, complaining that his back and Achilles tendon' are still bothersome. He says he plans on doing everything humanly possible to ensure he's pain-free for next season's run.

Of course, the question must be asked: Where was this in New Orleans? Was Davis' case similar to Vince Carter's in Toronto, where a former star simply wore out his welcome and then sabotaged his own play to facilitate an exit? Sort of.

Carter had his injury concerns, but when he was healthy enough to make a contribution, he admittedly coasted. Davis might have sabotaged his rehab but always brought it in games. Through the injury problems, he did toy with the organization as his displeasure increased. Fact is, Davis no longer wanted any part of playing for the Hornets and engineered his departure. New Orleans shipped him off for Dale Davis, who they later waived, and Speedy Claxton, currently the team's backup point guard.

"I'm going to make them regret it. I guarantee you that," Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle. "That's something 10 years from now people are going to look back and say that was a stupid move."

Uh, don't think the 10 years are necessary there, Baron, but it was you who forced their hand. In conversations with GM Allen Bristow less than a month before the trade was announced, he made no mention of looking to deal Davis even though the signs were there that the team was ready to start from scratch. David Wesley and Darrell Armstrong had already been moved for younger projects, and it was clear that the Hornets were hampered immensely by switching conferences. All of a sudden, it made little sense to keep a disgruntled injury-prone point guard on the payroll. "Time for us to part ways" was how Davis termed it then. Still, you would've thought the Hornets could scoop up at least a future draft pick in the deal.

"We stole him," said Warriors assistant coach Mario Elie said, who played for Golden State for two seasons in the early 1990s. "Everybody is calling us thieves because, you know, that was a hell of a deal for us. Of course, you never know, something may happen, but from what we've seen so far, we enjoy having him on the team."
 
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