The early 2000s marked a new era in the NBA, which meant new players and teams surfaced as contenders and the torch carriers for the upcoming decade in the league. We've seen an influx of great guards coming into the league, and the evolution of the NBA was pretty evident during that time because having a dominant center was no longer essential to winning a championship. At least, that was the universal belief among the league GMs and coaches. Of course, you had Shaq as the most dominant player in the NBA at that time, but the league was shifting focus and its rules to accommodate guards and forwards more than ever before.
In a recent interview for the Forgotten Seasons podcast, one of the players drafted in the NBA in that era is Baron Davis. When he came to the league, he was truly a unique player. His incredible combination of size, explosiveness, leaping ability, strength, and feel for the game made him one of the deadliest point guards in the NBA at the time. However, he was not the only one with an abundant skillset in the NBA during those years.
Davis stated in several interviews John Stockton was his hardest assignment when he came to the NBA, but now he expanded his list of the toughest players he had to face during that time.
Kenny Anderson when he was in Boston, Stephon Marbury, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson was another one that I cherish. And then all the dudes from my class like Steve Francis, Jason Terry, Andre Miller. Sam Cassell was cold. I mean, you had Travis Best that was cold coming from the bench in Indiana. Howard Eisley was backing up Stockton. There was no letdown. Even the older veteran guys had these vet backup guards who were like really, really good and could be starting on other teams.
Baron Davis, via Forgotten Seasons
A lot of the names Davis mentioned are well known to an average NBA fan, even though a few names like Travis Best, Andre Miller, and Howard Eisley are not so popular among younger NBA fans. The early 2000s were a great era in a sense; we've seen a lot of guards blossom and build their reputation as leaders of their respective teams, just like Baron Davis was for the Hornets. Many of the players that played in that era are fan favorites still to this day because of their impact on the evolution of the NBA. It's great to hear former NBA players like Davis share their respect for players who probably never got their due respect when they played in the NBA.