On Wednesday, the Delaware 87ers announced that they had acquired Baron Davis. The NBA veteran is embarking on a comeback effort, after last appearing in the Knicks' playoff series against the HEAT back in 2012. A two-time NBA all-star and former All-NBA selection, the high and mighty Davis was last seen being pulled off the court on a stretcher after suffering a partial tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee and complete tears of the right ACL and MCL.
Fast-forward nearly four years later, and Davis is back in the game, hoping to go out on his terms and put a proper stamp on his own respective legacy. It'll be in the D-League (and perhaps soon enough, the NBA) stage where Davis can prove he still has the ability to play at a relatively high level with some juice left in the tank. Clearly, the desire and hunger is still there. It matters to Davis how he is remembered; how those around the game perceive him. But there's no doubt that, by attempting to prove himself via the minor league, the guard will garner respect regardless of how things play out from here. Most players in his position would otherwise be content riding off into the sunset. But Davis feels as though he has unfinished business, which is refreshing to see. He's a competitor with plenty of pride, but he isn't above getting down and dirty to achieve what he wants to obtain.
What that is, exactly, remains to be seen. Coming in off of a rather devastating injury four years ago, there are surely skeptics around the league who doubt Davis' ability. That's assumedly why so many NBA teams passed him up, and also why it took so long for a D-League team to bring him in as well. Thus, hoping for a call-up following just a handful of games, especially at this point in the season, would perhaps be an unrealistic point of view. If Davis is going to go about this the right way, top decision-makers probably want a much larger sample size than an in-house workout or a small handful of minor league games. It wouldn't be surprising to see Davis remain in Delaware for the rest of the campaign. This would allow himself and NBA executives to evaluate the situation going forward much more seriously.
Will the next step in the process be continuing to compete and prove himself on a different stage during NBA Summer League? Will Davis get an NBA training camp invite for next season? Or is he legitimately pining for simply one last shot, regardless of how brief it may be, in the form of the more unlikely call-up this season? Time will tell, but if he stays the course and really wants to make a go at this, extending his comeback effort into next season makes it more realistic, obtainable, and sensible for NBA teams hoping to justify pulling the trigger and taking a chance on him. Davis needs to make them look good. Right now, he can begin by catching more attention when making an impact in Delaware.
The benefits of bringing Davis in are clear for the 87ers. Obviously having a veteran presence who boasts the type of success and experience he has amassed over his respective career is a plus. Davis will undoubtedly add value by serving as a positive influence for the younger players all hoping to learn, grow, and bolster their own respective basketball resumes. What's more, even though the team recently added Jay Harris, the departures of Sean Kilpatrick and Jordan McRae leave big shoes to fill. The team is surely hoping that Davis can still compete at a high level. Benefitting from even a portion of the player the 36 year old once was will be a special opportunity. Additionally, obviously perhaps to a lesser extent, Davis' arrival will garner more attention from fans and media alike, also putting more people in the seats. This not only applies to home games, but surely on the road as well.
Nevertheless, it'll be interesting to see how things play out. What will Davis want to achieve? How will he go about doing so? What's the respective timeline? These are all questions that surely will be answered in the days and weeks to come.