On Monday afternoon another new face waltzed into Madison Square Garden Training Center with facial hair that’s just about as famous as his stature on the court. The one pressing question that needed an answer was provided by the Knicks newest backcourt member, Baron Davis.
The former two-time All-Star confirmed he will not be trimming the beard from this day forward marking the start of a new era in New York for the 12-year veteran. All jokes aside, Davis displayed a great deal of enthusiasm for his landing spot as he officially signed a contract with the Knicks.
“This has been a place I’ve always wanted to play. I always kind of rise to the occasion when I’m playing against the Knicks and playing in the Garden. It’s just an unbelievable opportunity and I’m ready to accept the challenge,” Davis explained.
Davis will need some time to heal from a back injury that he categorized as a herniated disk. There is not a specific timetable on his return but he is optimistic about a full recovery in time to help a New York squad that has also signed Tyson Chandler and Mike Bibby during this busy and truncated training camp.
“I have to see what the doctors say,” Davis replied. “During the lockout, it’s kind of hard to diagnose yourself and I don’t have a medical background. I’ve just got to work as hard as I possibly can to push. Right now, it’s 8-10 weeks or whatever everybody else has been saying. For me, it’s just taking it one day at a time and improving and getting ready and getting as close as I possibly can and getting back as early as I possibly can.”
An LA native, Davis is primarily known as a scoring guard with a flashy style and incredible skill set. On Monday, Davis wanted to be clear that he is willing to play any role in order to help the team achieve the ultimate goal, which is to win a championship.
“Whatever this team needs me to do. From a vocal standpoint and leadership standpoint just working with the young guards and being an extension of what the coach wants out there. Doing whatever – whether it’s defense, diving on the floor, taking charges, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get this team to win,” Davis stated.
Additionally, the 32-year old believes he can thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system. Davis’ crafty nature and tremendous vision should open door s for the formidable frontline cast of Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chandler. Pick-and-roll basketball will be a difficult defensive task for Knicks opponents, especially with their new backcourt addition.
“With Baron and the way he passes the ball, he has great ball-handling skills. He’s very creative with the basketball, so with that fastbreak offense, it’s going to be tough to stop us,” Stoudemire exclaimed.
NBA fans own fond memories of Davis from the 2007 Playoffs where he helped orchestrate one of the most stunning upsets in NBA history. Davis’ No. 8 seeded Warriors shocked the No. 1 seeded Mavericks in the first round and then Davis added to his legacy with a jaw-dropping one-handed jam over Andrei Kirilenko. His elite status was evident in the nightly box score; Davis averaged 20.1 points and 8.1 assists per game that season.
“Winning is the most important thing with me – that’s what basketball is all about to have that joy and lift that trophy,” Davis said. “This is my sole motivation for coming here. I think we have the tools and the pieces and if we can gel together and develop that team chemistry, I like our chances against anybody in this league.”
By the time the beard is mid-season form, Davis should be prepared to hit the floor for a Knicks team that is now equipped with dangerous weapons at every position.
Stay tuned to KnicksNow.com throughout Knicks Training Camp for daily updates, videos, and photos.