Delonte West traveled with Shaquille O’Neal, playing together first with the Cavaliers and then with the Celtics over the past two seasons. Now, Shaq will be commentating while West moves on to his next team.
The Dallas Mavericks filled up their 15-man roster with a one-year signing of 28-year-old Delonte West.
The Mavs’ current roster (asterisks signify they did not play with the team last year):
West has bounced around mostly between the Celtics and Cavaliers along with a short stint in Seattle. His most complete season came in 2005-2006 with the Boston Celtics. He started all 71 games he played in while shooting 48.7% from the field, 38.5% behind the arc, 85.1% at the stripe, and averaging 11.8 points per game. Because of both injury and decrease of playing time, West has only started in 74 games the past four seasons compared to the 151 he started in his first four seasons. Last season, specifically, a wrist injury limited him to only 24 total games played.
Interestingly, West is the fourth southpaw the Mavericks have picked up this off-season, joining Drew Neitzel, Lamar Odom, and Brandan Wright. Even though this might not seem significant, left-handed basketball players are sometimes difficult to guard on the court because the natural tendency is to force someone left on defense – which is exactly where these four players want to be pushed. Just look at how easily Manu Ginobili finds a way to always – and I mean always – go left. This might be a new aspect to the Mavericks’ game that many won’t pay attention to, but I think it is significant enough to have a positive impact.
West’s past is filled with some bad rumors along with some verified arrests, including traffic and weapons charges. Psychological counseling was even necessary towards the latter part of his history of arrests. However, since his counseling, West has stayed out of trouble, so hopefully it will remain that way as he comes to the Big D.
With the departure of Barea (a post I’m still struggling to put together…), West most likely will become Jason Kidd’s primary back-up. Even though he will be coming off the bench, West has some huge Puerto Rican shoes to fill. Barea complimented Kidd’s relaxed and easy-going play with his own energized and tenacious attitude. West will be expected to come in and provide a spark off the bench on a consistent basis. If he can pull this off, that’s one less spark plug the Mavericks will have to worry about replacing.
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