- Ramona Shelburne, ESPN Senior Writer
- 0 Shares
Baron Davis doesn't claim to have figured out why the Clippers have only won 46 games over the past two seasons ... Or why the franchise seems so perpetually unlucky ... Or why Mike Dunleavy couldn't make it work ... Or Kim Hughes ....
But he does have ideas of the changes he'd like to see made heading into next year.
'"Hopefully in the offseason I'll sit down with the coach and the management, with the owner, and just let them know how committed I am to rebranding this whole Clipper franchise," Davis said in a wide-ranging interview before the team's game Wednesday night against the Blazers.
"I thought I'd just be able to come in, plug in and play, do what I do. It hasn't been that. It hasn't really been my personality being infectious on the organization. It was more like 'You come here, you adapt to what we're doing. Kind of sit and wait your turn.' So hopefully my turn is this next year."
Davis' scoring average plummeted by nearly seven points a game (21.8 to 14.9) in his first season with the club last year and has only climbed back up to 15.3 this year.
Then-coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy criticized him for being out of shape and overweight after joining the team as a free agent in the summer of 2008.
Davis obviously chafed at Dunleavy's deliberate style of play, but he never openly vented his frustrations.
"Last year taught me a huge lesson as far as being patient and having character and never speaking out against anybody. I never said anything bad against Dunleavy, this year too,'" Davis said.
"The younger Baron would've definitely said something. I probably would've asked for a way out. I would've looked for the easiest way out. But I just realized that this organization, with the position we're in now, has a great opportunity."
What exactly were the things he was holding his tongue on?
"You can say, 'Yeah, he's our franchise player and we're going to run, we're going to put the ball in his hands.' But if you don't do it ... I don't mind taking the blame. I have thick skin," Davis said.
"I feel like a kid as far as my love for the game. What I can do out there on the floor, like I can do the same things I was doing my rookie year. Probably not jump as high, but I can do a lot more things. I can dominate a game at any point."
He can dominate, he said, but only if he's "allowed to."
"One thing I am is a leader and if I'm not allowed to lead, then I have to follow," he said. "So then I want to be the best follower that I can. But if they turn it over to me and allow me to lead this team next year, then it'll be a totally different situation."
And just what direction does he intend to lead the Clippers?
"I want people to come to Clipper games and smile. I want people to come to Clipper games and be entertained and dance and laugh. It's a whole culture... I wish it would start now. But it's tough with where we are as a team and the season we're having," he said.
"But going into next season we definitely have to just change the culture and the environment and the way that the Clippers have always been perceived. I don't want this to always be like a second chance place, or a place where people want to come here and then leave.
"I want this to be a place where people want to come to play. If I'm allowed to lead this franchise and this organization the way that I see fit hopefully we'll make a run."
13hMarc Stein and Calvin Watkins