The trade that brought Baron Davis to Cleveland was deemed logic-defying by some, but the man that many consider to be an overweight, unmotivated malcontent has done nothing but make the Cavalier coaching staff continue to heap praise his way.
Though he is questionable with back spasms that likely occured from playing too soon after missing time to tend to the recent passing of his grandmother, Davis’ work with the rest of the Cavaliers has resulted in head coach Byron Scott calling him his “fifth assistant coach.” Joining the ranks of fellow veteran Cavalier Antawn Jamison, Davis adds that experienced voice to a team of undrafted rookies and ocassional D-League signings.
Following Monday morning’s shootaround, Davis could be found in the middle of Cleveland Clinic courts working with the team’s current starting shooting guard Alonzo Gee as the two men went through Gee’s responsibilities if and when the Wine and Gold opt to double-team Dwight Howard. With the Magic coming into town and the Cavaliers boasting a relatively yound and undersized frontcourt, a lot will depend on help-based rotations – Davis’ work with Gee and the rest of the young backcourt not only allow him to further understand his still-relatively new teammates, but also provide another set of eyes for the staff of this 13-win franchise.
The coachlike work is not limited to the backcourt. Following the halftime break on March 8 (Davis’ last game prior to leaving the team for personal reasons), he walked back on to the floor with rookie teammate Samardo Samuels, talking him through various rotations on both ends of the floor. When the team wraps up their practice or shootaround, Davis then ventures off with (fellow?) assistant coach Joe Prunty to work on his jump shot just a bit more.
While the rest of the NBA world awaits the potential bottom to fall out with regard to Davis and how he handles playing on an inexperienced team with the worst record in the league, the player and his teammates continue to make the most out of all the time they can get on the practice court. Davis flew home with the Cavaliers following their game with the Clippers and took part in a light practice on Sunday. He will go through some five-on-five drills on Tuesday with hopes of being ready for the contest between the Cavs and New Jersey Nets.
But in the event that Davis cannot practice or play at any given time between now and the end of the season – the Cavaliers have no more than one day off between every game through the duration of the year – the team knows that they will have the best-dressed assistant coach in the league. He would also happen to be the highest-paid assistant coach in the league, but that’s another story for another day.