Trash talking with Ricky Davis
By Stephen Litel
As the Timberwolves 2006-07 season begins to wind down, most likely without a playoff berth, blame has begun to be thrown around. With a majority of the blame focusing on the Minnesota front office, shreds of the same have filtered down to the players, including Ricky Davis.
A lot of people have negative thoughts of Davis, some justified, some odd. It is not surprising that when asked the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of "Ricky Buckets," a majority bring up his fake triple-double, when he shot at the opponent's basket in the closing minutes to secure the final needed rebound for the honor. Therefore, some of the knocks on Davis are indeed self-inflicted.
Personally, I have found Ricky Davis to be a very motivated player. Admittedly, I have not made a decision in my own heart and mind on him, so I decided to seek him out to answer to some of his biggest criticisms. Finding him in an empty locker room before the Wolves thrilling last second win against the Portland Trailblazers on Sunday, Davis was more than willing to speak.
SL: What is your reaction when you hear or read that you are being called a "locker room cancer?"
RD: A locker room cancer? Um, I don't know. I don't know what a real locker room cancer guy is. You know, you just ask all the players and everybody I played with and that will get you the best answer that you're going to get. I'm not here to justify nothing. People say what they say, but the people who are in the locker room are the players anyway. I don't know who would say some stuff like that, but, you know, it happens.
SL: Anytime I've been in this locker room or watched you interact with your teammates, it seems as if this team really does have great chemistry off the court. Everyone seems to genuinely get along and like each other, but the criticism continues.
RD: You know, the people saying that kind of stuff are from the outside looking in anyway. I mean, they'll never truly know it anyway. They just go by what they hear, but, again, it happens.
SL: Your contract makes you a very valuable trade asset, sparking numerous rumors involving you leaving the Timberwolves this summer. What are your thoughts on that even though you are still fighting for a playoff berth?
RD: Man, trade rumors happen everyday. It happens to everybody. I mean, Kevin (Garnett) has been involved in trade rumors himself. That just happens in the job that we have. Teams want you and teams ask for you and stuff like that happens. It's just the nature of the business.
SL: This season has obviously not gone how you would have expected at the beginning of the year. Where and when do you think that it went south?
RD: We've just been off track all year. You know, we'll win four games then lose five games. Just inconsistent. That comes with teams being put together. We just put this team together this year and a little bit of last year. We just need to keep growing and keep going, doing what we need to do and try to keep the team together for a certain amount of years, that's when you see growth and maturity.
SL: What are your thoughts on being called a "selfish" player even though you are leading the team in assists?
RD: It's funny to hear that I'm a selfish player. I don't know, man. Every team I went to, I believe I led the team in assists. To me, it's like are guys watching or are they just saying stuff? That's funny.
SL: There are many fans out there who believe that it may be in the best interest of the team to start Rashad McCants and have you come in as the sixth man, a role in which you've thrived in the past. Is that something that, if asked, you would be willing to do?
RD: I'm always willing to do something nice, but that was something that I was better at in my younger days. I'm going to be a starter and I'm going to stay a starter, so we'll just keep it like that. It's different when you go to another team where they have guys who have established themselves in the league already and maybe become like a (Jerry) Stackhouse. He comes off the bench and does what he does, but I'm here to play all the minutes. I'm going to play all of the minutes and make the team better.
SL: There has been a lot of talk recently that this team does not have a leader in the locker room, including Kevin Garnett. Where do you think that comes from?
RD: Man, I don't know. I mean, my question is where are all those questions coming from? I don't see no one in the locker room but the media and our team, so I don't know where that is coming from.
SL: The team is in that delicate spot where you are still in the hunt for the playoffs, yet are in danger of losing the first round draft pick this summer.
RD: Yeah, we're right there in that position. It could really go either way. We're going to try to make a run now and try to make the playoffs. You know that we are not going to lay down and try for that draft pick. We've got a great group of guys in here that's never going to give up, so we're out there still fighting. I think this season just comes down to inexperience, you know? Kind of like the Dallas teams or the Phoenix teams, they've been together for four or five years and they are just now starting to really play together and if we keep the team together, we'll be alright.
SL: Last one, Ricky. Give the fans a reason to continue to support the team this season and reason to come back next year.
RD: They should support the team. If they like basketball, they should know that guys are trying to get it together. You can't just put a team together yesterday and try to come out and win the championship or compete for the playoffs today. We're in the hardest conference in the league. If you're in the Eastern Conference, you can get away with stuff, but we're going to continue to keep growing and becoming a team.
After our chat, Davis then went out and played a great game against Portland. Lost in Garnett's last second heroics is the fact that this was a Ricky Davis game. He was the MVP on the floor Sunday, as stated by Garnett afterwards, controlling the game with his passing and defensive prowess.
Now that his answers have been given, let's discuss Davis. Do the positives in his game outweigh the negatives? Is he really a "bad influence" on the younger players on this team? Should he be on this team next season?
By Stephen Litel [email protected]
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