Give David West some Credit

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Published: April 7, 2008

Okay, for a guy who is really hoping Chris Paul takes home the MVP trophy this year, I'm about to do something kinda stupid.  I'm going to talk up one of his teammates and explain why he isn't ten times better because Chris Paul is on the floor.

(By the way, one of my favorite stat-sites, Dave Berri's Wages of Wins Journal, weighed in some more on the MVP race and picked Paul to win it.  Also, the Blogger MVP Rankings Round 10 is up and Paul has put some real distance between himself and the rest of the field.  It's gotta be because we hosted it last time.)

I've been reading every MVP article out there, and its great to see Paul mentioned pretty consistently now, but one argument that keeps cropping up has started to bug me:

"Chris Paul is so valuable to the team because he turned a marginal talent like David West into an All-Star."

Okay.  Judging by the previous two years – I can see where they are coming from.  That pick and pop from the top of the key is always on the highlight shows.  West has nailed more than a half-dozen game winners from there, but almost all came on assisted passes from Chris Paul.  Offensively, it's what he's known for – the Jumper as Soft as a Fluffy Bunny.  This year, however, West is a lot more than a simple mid-range catch and shoot jumpshooter, and as always, here some stats that prove it.

In order for Chris Paul to get credit for West's production, West must be getting a lot of his shots off of assists, right?  That would mean that Paul was creating the shots, not West.  For the season, West scores 58% of his points on assisted shots.  That sounds like a big number, but it's not.  Here are the top Power Forwards in the league and the percentage of shots they make that are assisted.

  • Kenyon Martin: 75%
  • Carlos Boozer: 71%
  • Amare Stoudamire: 71%
  • Rasheed Wallace: 69%
  • Kevin Garnett: 67%
  • Pau Gasol: 66%
  • Josh Smith: 65%
  • Rashard Lewis: 64%
  • LaMarcus Aldridge: 64%
  • Antawn Jamison: 63%
  • Chris Bosh: 58%
  • David "Fluffy" West: 58%
  • Dirk Nowitzki: 55%
  • Zach Randolph: 50%
  • Tim Duncan: 50%

That table alone makes it pretty clear.  David West ties for 4th amongst Power Forwards when it comes to creating his own shot.  I don't hear anyone saying Rondo or Pierce make Garnett  – or that Billups turns Wallace into an All-Star.  The fact that Stoudamire has almost 3 out of every 4 shots he makes set up for him by someone else didn't stop him from being All-NBA First Team.   Why is West being singled out for that treatment?

So please, Paul is special, but let's give West some credit too.

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