Reporting from New York — It's all about redefining yourself in the NBA, and Baron Davis helpfully did so when he was asked about his role on the Clippers in the Blake Griffin era.
(Actually, it should also be called the no Eric Gordon era.)
Both factors, the explosion of Griffin and the absence of the injured Gordon, have reshaped the role of Davis. Or maybe he's just fitting into it better on the Clippers' long trip through North America.
"Obviously, I'm the oldest guy," the 31-year-old Davis said Wednesday, pausing for effect and knowing his audience would appreciate the sly sentiment.
"So I have to provide the wisdom and I have to be the calming factor out there from time to time. Just overall leadership. And being an extension of the coaches out there, being able to teach and translate."
He left out one element of the job description, and agreed with a suggestion about being Griffin's protective muscle of late. "I am The Enforcer," Davis said, smiling.
Davis has been increasingly enforcing his will in the first four games of this eight-game adventure before the All-Star break.
In 30 games this season, a season shortened by his knee injury, Davis is averaging 12.5 points and 7.1 assists. But in the first four games of the trip, Davis is averaging 19.2 points and almost 11 assists, a stretch including Wednesday night's 16 points and 16 assists in a 116-108 victory against the Knicks.
"He's an unbelievable passer," Griffin said. "It just shows, night in and night out. Sometimes it's not even those flashy plays but it's a pass that seems simple, only because he makes it simple."
So does this indicate Davis is all the way back?
'I don't know if he's all the way back," Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said. "I think he's been doing a great job. We've upped his minutes. He's handled that well. Back to backs are usually tougher, but I thought he did an outstanding job for us" Wednesday.
It was the Clippers' first road win in eight games and just their fourth away from Staples Center this season. They were off Thursday and play at Cleveland on Friday, followed by games at Toronto (Sunday), Milwaukee (Monday) and Minnesota (Wednesday) before the All-Star break
Del Negro, who had been displeased with Davis' fitness heading into training camp, was more expansive about him before Wednesday's game.
"After Baron got in shape and controlled his injury with his knee, I think Baron's done a very good job, especially as of late," Del Negro said. "He's taken a leadership role with Eric Gordon being out.
"I'm pleased with Baron's aggressiveness and leadership and things. Now he's just got to continue to do it on a more consistent basis. Which he is more than capable of doing. I haven't had any issues with Baron for a long time because I feel he's putting in the work."