Baron Davis reported to training camp 19 pounds slimmer and eager to validate L.A.'s $65 million investment.
In 38 years the Clippers/Braves franchise has never had a player who averaged 20 points and eight assists in the same season, figures that Baron Davis surpassed (20.1, 8.1) in his 227 games with the Warriors.
Record: 23-59 (12th in West) Points scored: 93.8 (29th in NBA) Points allowed: 101.1 (18th)
The return of a native son will make this season more palatable than the last one
The only thing weirder than seeing Baron Davis in a Clippers uniformis seeing a noticeably slimmed-down Baron Davis in a Clippers uniform.
The two-time All-Star, who signed a five-year, $65 million free-agentdeal to return home to Los Angeles, showed up for camp in the best shape of hiscareer. Thanks to a Jenny Craig diet that helped him shed 19 pounds off his6-foot-3 frame (down to 196), as well as a rigorous off-season trainingregimen, he says he is fully ready to revive his new team as he did the Warriorsduring his 3 1/2 seasons at Golden State.
"I'll never forget what [former player and current Raptors coach] SamMitchell told me: Every year you want to come in a little lighter as you getolder," Davis, 29, recalls. "This is a new beginning for me. Last year I wasable to play all 82 games. I just wanted to build on that."
Davis's commitment is good news for an organization whose two leadingscorers, Corey Maggette and Elton Brand, left as free agents. A former UCLA star,Davis brings career averages of 17.1 points and 7.2 assists to town,but that production is tempered by the fact that he has missed an average of22 games over the last six seasons with ankle, knee and back injuries; lastFriday he injured his left ring finger in practice.
L.A.'s roster is dotted with proven scorers, and the addition of 2007Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby (acquired in a trade with the Nuggets)gives the club a much-needed shot blocker and rebounder. The Lakers will be themarquee attraction at Staples Center this season, but with a svelte Davisleading the way, L.A.'s other team could be a surprise hit. -- Marty Burns
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