« The Hornets Big Man Conundrum
Some Thoughts On David West
Remember when David West was making his first All Star team, and playing a huge part in what remains the Hornets greatest regular season ever? At the time some were called him the most underrated player in the game. Then along the way something changed. Once fans started calling him an all-star it’s like the expectations of Hornets Nation grew tenfold. His fairly routine 20-10 performances were no longer exciting and new, but the norm
After discussing the Hornets Big Man Conundrum, it became clear that a lot of fans don’t value David West much anymore. Should they? Let’s head to some stats to see what’s happened in the past four years.
Considering that the basic stats are are just about unchanged since then, he sure takes a lot of heat. What’s that you say, he’s not the same guy? Well what you require in order to be satisfied by him might not be the same, but his play just hasn’t changed nearly as much as your eyes might lead you to believe.
Well it’s got to be his defense, right? That’s where the huge drop off has occurred and why some don’t think he’s even worth a relatively puny 8.3 million next year, even though that’s nowhere near being in the top 15 salaries for power forwards.
So just how has David done in the past few years against other power forwards? If you’re wondering why I’m just looking at power forwards and not overall, it’s because David isn’t a center. There’s really no reason to penalize him for being forced to play a guy three or four inches taller just because the team didn’t have/utilize a competent backup for Tyson or Emeka.
|Year||Opposing PF PER (82games.com)||David’s PER @PF (82games.com)||Diff||Opposing PF PP/40||David’s PP/40 @PF||Diff||Reb/48 difference|
Did David West see a small decline in production versus opponents this past year? Sure, but that can really be attributed to two things.
- Chris Paul was out for a large chunk of the year. It’s no secret that West and Paul play well together.
- Okafor rebounds well, and happens to grab balls that West used to. Emeka doesn’t have the ups to grab some of the ones that Tyson used to snag, but he certainly does wind up with a big chunk of boards that come lower. One of those each game used to be West’s. Just my opinion from watching tons of Hornets games.
So although West isn’t a great rebounder of the basketball, and isn’t someone I’d take over Bosh, Amare, Gasol, Duncan or Boozer, he’s a key part of the Hornets. He outperforms his opponent on a near nightly basis and has the ability to light up the opposition for 40 a few times a year. With or without Paul, David shoulders a huge chunk of the scoring load for the Bees.
Some have pointed to his supposed lack of hustle and energy, but looking at the past three months of the season, is there really anything to that? There’s no denying that at times his commitment to defense wavers, but when it really matters David is a guy who you can count on to come through. After seeing his play the last three months of the season, when it was essentially over, I’m confident that he truly and honestly cares about every game. He has the fire, he has the passion, and he has the skills to play a huge role for a contending team.
Recently we’ve been talking about trading David West, and although it’s not something that needs to be done, it is an option that could work out for the best. There is one and one reason only to ship a performer like David, and that’s if you get an even better player in return. If that possibility is open, then take it. What’s odd though is to go around thinking that West is the problem in New Orleans. He’s simply not.
Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. What do you think about David? Have our expectations gone up a bunch causing us to undervalue his contributions, or is there something that the stats just can’t show us?