Baron Davis last played in an NBA game nearly four years ago. As a then-33-year-old point guard for the New York Knicks, he tore his ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in the playoffs against LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
At the time, and basically every moment since, popular thought figured that was the final nail in his basketball career’s coffin. But Davis, who turns 37 in April, can’t leave the NBA alone, and on Wednesday he signed a contract to play with the D-League’s Delaware 87ers and is expected to make his debut Friday night.
Never the most efficient scorer, Davis was still a highlight-making machine throughout his prime and averaged 16.1 points and 7.2 assists over 835 career games. Davis was the No. 3 overall selection out of UCLA in the 1999 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. After appearing in two All-Star games before his 25th birthday, Davis was an absolute force with the Golden State Warriors, and provided one of the most memorable dunks of the past 15 years:
Obviously, this is a feel-good story because everyone loves B-Diddy. But it’s also far-fetched. Why are the Philadelphia 76ers using their D-League team to sign a player who, in all likelihood, won’t ever be able to help them out?
It’s possible they want a mentor in-house to counsel younger prospects on what to expect when/if they make it to the big leagues, but this news is still a sharp left turn from what anyone would expect from Sam Hinkie’s reign.
Perhaps it’s the latest sign that "The Process" has died? Or maybe somehow, someway, Davis still has a little magic left in the tank. Whatever the reason, watching Davis play professional basketball again will be a ton of fun.