For those who have followed the career of point guard Baron Davis, the phrase "future mentor" very rarely (if ever) came to mind when discussing the enigmatic star.
But according to agent Todd Ramasar, that's the role Davis, whose playing career likely ended when the 33-year-old dislocated his right patella in a game against the Miami Heat last season, will play with the New York Knicks next season.
Via ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling:
He'll still be around the team and could kind of help some of the younger guys just through his experience. The Knicks have been wonderful in terms of just extending support to Baron, whether it be through obviously his physical therapy or just having him involved with the organization going forward. He really loves that team and that organization has done an excellent job with Baron, and Baron feels like that's home. He really, really enjoyed last season with the Knicks.
Ramasar's quote not only signifies the strong bond between Davis and the Knicks, but also the growth of the point guard as a person.
And that's exactly why Davis could make the perfect mentor for this Knicks roster.
Throughout his playing career, Davis was known as one of the biggest underachievers in the league. Always one of the most talented players in the NBA, the point guard never seemed willing to put in the requisite work necessary to succeed at the pro-level.
He feuded with coaches, showed up out of shape for nearly his entire run with the Los Angeles Clippers and often played down to the level of his teammates instead of trying to lift them up.
But when Davis did put in the effort, he was extraordinary. During the Golden State Warriors' magical run during the 2007 playoffs, Davis hoisted the No. 8 seed to unforeseen levels. The point guard scored 25.3 points on 53.1 percent shooting and doled out 6.5 assists per game as the Warriors took down the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks.
The only problem is those brilliant moments came so few and far between that Davis became one of the most frustrating players of his era.
That's where his role with the Knicks could prove beneficial.
There is a reason that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell asked cornerback Adam Jones to speak at this year's rookie symposium. Davis is no Jones in terms of off-court problems, obviously. But it's often those who make mistakes that are the best mentors in helping others avoid the same pitfalls.
The biggest beneficiary for Davis' presence should be point guard Raymond Felton.
Like Davis, Felton has a recent history of showing up to camp overweight. Felton's entire run with the Portland Trail Blazers last season was marred by his lack of commitment and lackadaisical on-court performance.
And, like Davis, Felton can be marvelous when he's fully committed. The former Tar Heel's 17.1 points and 9.0 assists per game during his first 54-game run with the Knicks is evidence of that.
Fellow New York signee Jason Kidd will also undoubtedly help in the mentoring of Felton. Davis will just have more time on his hands to focus on the 28-year-old point guard.
And with a ton of pressure on the Knicks and Felton in 2012-13 to justify letting go fan favorite Jeremy Lin this offseason, Davis' work behind-the-scenes could prove vital for the Knicks.
Or, he could be just as uncommitted a mentor as he was a player and this could prove to be a huge disaster. But, for now, it seems that Davis is saying all the right things and is ready to make a perfect transition into the next phase of his basketball life.
If that's the case, it can only help the Knicks going forward.
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