Player Profile: David West
We all know that David West has blossomed into one of the finest Power Forwards in the league. On the night of his 40 point outpouring to help the Hornets beat the Lakers in the Staples Center I thought that I would write up a little profile of him as I wait to see the full highlights (and neglect sleep, it is currently 1:47 EST.)
West was born in New Jersey but played high school ball in North Carolina. He also went to Hargrave Military Academy. Although I don’t know anything of his academic record I do know that Florida State often will send football recruits to Hargrave for a year if they have a hard time getting them in academically. Other schools also adopt this policy. He then moved onto Xavier to play for Skip Prosser. The same coach who helped develop James Posey and Chris Paul’s games as well.
The Hornets drafted him in the first round in 2003, and in 2005-2006 he was awarded the NBA Most Improved Player award. Since that season West has posted PER numbers over 18.5 each and every season and is well on his way this year. He has been a model of consistency. A true Power Forward (unlike Tim Duncan who is a center but everyone just goes along with the joke) David has adopted the inside/outside game that is so necessary to become a truly great PF. One large area of improvement for West has been his field goal shooting percentage. His first two seasons came in at about .700, however now he shoots between .850-.890. This has lead to him being used as a technical free throw shooter as well, which is almost unheard of for a guy who is 6’9’’ and 240 lbs.
Tonight West tied his career high with 40 points, while becoming the only Hornet to ever go for 40 points and 10 rebounds. Which both show that he is a wildly versatile and talented player. He was honored with his first All-Star game appearance last year because of a this talent. Last year his +/- per game was a net + 5.8, while his production (which measures individual match ups each night at each position) was + 7.0. Believe it or not though many people believe he has been even better this year tag teaming with Chris Paul. According to Basketball Prospectus his Wins Produced is on pace to be about .8 wins better than last year, which is a jump of “merely” 10% on top of his already stellar play last season.
While it is clear that Chris Paul is the best player on the team David West has become an even more clear #2. Given Amare Stoudemire’s defense, and Kevin Garnett’s age, I am not sure there is another PF other than Chris Bosh that I would rather have going forward. At worst he is the conversation of best 5-6 players at his position.