Until recently, Baron Davis played for the New Orleans Hornets, one of the worst teams in the NBA. Then he was traded to the Golden State Warriors, another of the league’s worst teams.
And he’s delighted.
Davis, who was a basketball star at Crossroads School and UCLA, is happy to be back on the West Coast, a one-hour flight from home and now a member of a talented young squad.
The Warriors haven’t won many games this season, but suddenly they have one of the league’s most entertaining backcourts with Davis and Jason Richardson and another just-developing player in Mike Dunleavy.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt wanted,’’ said Davis. “I’m 25, I haven’t hit my peak and this is a fresh start.’’
To say Davis was unhappy in New Orleans would be an understatement.
“This is like getting out of prison,’’ he said.
Davis has been one of the league’s most highly regarded guards in recent years. Last season he averaged 22.9 points and 7.5 assists.
He played in 262 consecutive games at the start of his NBA career but then suffered some injuries and struggled at times with the Hornets’ losing ways. With the injuries he missed 79 games.
In the weeks leading up to the trade, he had a bruised Achilles tendon and chose to do his rehabilitation in Los Angeles, which bothered Hornet officials.
With $63 million remaining on Davis’ contract, some teams weren’t in a position with the league’s salary cap to add such a high number. But the Warriors viewed his availability as a way of adding a quality player.
The Warriors have quickly showed improvement. Last week they won consecutive road games for the first time this season.
Davis is one of many players who have gone through Coach Daryl Roper’s Crossroads program and moved on to college and pro competition. He has come back to the school at 18th and Olympic Boulevard in the summer to participate in basketball camps.
His new teammates are happy he now plays in Oakland.“Baron is respected around the league for his scoring but he’s shown us he’s an outstanding passer too,’’ said Richardson.