With no team having fewer wins than his Los Angeles Clippers, a reportedly unhappy Davis makes his first appearance against a Golden State squad he ditched in the offseason as the struggling Pacific Division foes meet Saturday afternoon.
Warriors swingman Corey Maggette also will face his former team for the first time, having spent the previous eight seasons with Los Angeles.
Maggette signed a five-year deal worth $50 million in July about a week after Davis declined his $17.8 million option with Golden State for 2008-09, choosing free agency despite indications he wanted to stay in the Bay Area. The lure of playing in his hometown, along with the Clippers’ contract offer supposedly including more years and more money, caused Davis to sign a five-year deal with Los Angeles for $65 million.
“I wanted to be here for a long time,” Davis said of Golden State after deciding to join the Clippers. “(The Bay Area) is home. I still consider this home. The fans have done nothing but encourage, congratulate and support everything that I’ve ever done. … I just took what was best for me.”
The Warriors (3-6) aren’t doing too well without the star point guard after he led them to 48 wins last season - their most since 1993-94 - and helped them end a 12-year playoff drought the previous season.
Los Angeles (1-7), though, is doing no better, and Davis isn’t helping matters. The Clippers are off to their worst start since dropping their first 17 games of the lockout-shortened 1999 season.
Davis is scoring 15.0 points per game - he hasn’t averaged below 17 in a season since 2000-01 - and shooting a career-low 37.4 percent from the field. Though he’s averaging a team-leading 7.6 assists, Davis reportedly has complained about coach Mike Dunleavy’s system and how it’s hurting his ability to play at his best.
The two-time All-Star tried not to sound so pessimistic after a 103-98 home loss to Sacramento on Wednesday.
“Our team is a work in progress. It’s definitely a challenge for me, but at the same time, it’s something that I’m willing to continue to grasp,” Davis said. “This is a different system than the one I came from, so I basically have to study and make sure that I’m doing what he wants me to do out there as a point guard.”
Dunleavy refuted the report that he has differences with Davis, who prefers a more up-tempo and freelance style than his coach does.
“I didn’t know we weren’t on the same page,” Dunleavy said. “We want to run every possession. Let’s put that misnomer to bed.”
The fast-paced offense that Warriors coach Don Nelson runs was expected to suit Maggette well, but he’s shot 33.9 percent while averaging 17.4 points - nearly five below his average last season. Maggette missed four games with a strained hamstring before returning Thursday, scoring 13 points on 2-of-7 shooting in a 107-102 loss to Detroit.
“It gave me an opportunity to get back out on the floor so that’s a positive start,” said Maggette, the fourth-leading scorer in Clippers history with 8,835 points. “I just wish I had more power and was able to attack more. But I’ll take what it is and hopefully we can bounce back.”
Maggette is 3-of-16 from 3-point range and the Warriors are among the NBA’s least accurate teams from beyond the arc at 28.6 percent, but they are averaging 102.6 points to rank among the league leaders. Los Angeles is one of the lowest-scoring teams with 88.3 points a game, but Golden State gives up 105.4.
Andres Biedrins has 16 straight double-doubles for the Warriors, who won the final three meetings with Los Angeles last season. Stephen Jackson missed the first two meetings before averaging 28.5 points in the last two.