Davis was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 13th pick of the 1991 NBA Draft, and spent the first nine years of his career with them. He quickly established himself as the team's starting power forward, and was the workhorse of the Pacers' outstanding teams in the mid-1990s. He routinely averaged double-digits in points and near double-digits in rebounds throughout his Pacers career, and left the franchise as the team's all-time rebounds leader in their NBA era. (The Pacers were an original member of the American Basketball Association for several years before joining the NBA.)
Following the 1999-2000 season, in which Davis was named to the All-Star team and the Pacers made it to the NBA Finals, the organization decided it was time to rebuild with a younger nucleus of players. They dealt Davis to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for Jermaine O'Neal and Joe Kleine, and O'Neal soon went on to become the Pacers' franchise player.
Davis spent four years with the Blazers, putting up much the same numbers as he did with the Pacers-- roughly 8 points and 8 rebounds per game. He played 313 games for the Blazers, starting 235 times.
Then on February 24 2005, Davis was traded again, along with guard Speedy Claxton, to the New Orleans Hornets for guard Baron Davis. Davis was released soon afterward, and signed with his first team, the Pacers, on March 4 2005. He immediately started in place of the injured Jermaine O'Neal, earning one point, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in a Pacers' road victory against the Blazers.
In all, Davis started all 25 games he played for the Pacers in the 2004-05 regular season, contributing 6.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.32 blocks per game while displaying the hard-nosed toughness that had made him such a popular player in his first stint with the Pacers. Many believe that Davis' contributions in the absence of franchise player O'Neal helped the Pacers avoid the slide one would have expected in that situation-- and indeed, the Pacers actually gained ground in the Eastern Conference, finishing with the sixth seed.