A Farewell to David West

By:
Published: December 12, 2011

So after 8 years as a Hornet, David West has gone out in the same manner in which he played for the Hornets – an afterthought to the sublime scene-stealing talent of his longtime teammate, Chris Paul. 

It shouldn’t be that way.  West owns one of the top spots in the Pantheon of players to wear the Teal (and Creole Blue), next to original Hornets Dell Curry and Muggsy Bogues.  I’m not sure how many of you know just what he has accomplished for the Franchise – but had he played for the Hornets this year, I had a slew of articles ready to roll:

  • West grabs franchise record in defensive rebounding
  • David West sets franchise record in Minutes Played
  • David West most prolific scorer in Hornets History
  • David West seizes franchise record in total rebounding
  • David West’s jumper tonight sets franchise record for number of Field Goals

But piddling little thing like franchise records aside, David West was, quite simply, my favorite Hornet.  Everything about West’s game was unexpected.  He’s built like a rock, yet has one of the sweetest mid-range set shots in the game.  Despite limited foot-speed, he could find space at any time for his shot.  For years he’s been able to attack off the dribble in isolation as well as any forward in the league, regularly putting the lie to the oft-repeated nonsense about him being a jump shooter who lived off of Chris Paul. 

The most unexpected moment of his career, however, was in 2005, when Byron Scott told reporters they had traded Jamaal Magloire and moved PJ Brown to center primarily to clear room for David West at the power forward position.  David West of the season-ending “bone bruise” from the year before.  David West, of whom I had vague memories of a short power forward clapping in angry frustration a lot after missing easy putbacks.  That was what I knew of David West when he was named starter. 

I thought Scott had lost his mind. 

Then, of course, West stepped onto the court and generated 17 points a game, hitting four game-winners and giving CP3 a young, promising partner in the quest to make the Hornets relevant again. 

He had worked hard during his injury hiatus to come back that strong – something I feel he made the hallmark of his career.  Every summer he’d return to the Hornets with another wrinkle to his game.  Last summer he added a deadly baseline stepback after a jab step.  The summer before he developed a counter move in the post that kept him from having to take a shot while crossing the paint 8 feet from the basket – the place he’s been least effective his entire career.  The summer before that he rid himself of an annoying tendency to get called for a travel after a pump-fake, cutting an already low turnover rate.

He’s just a self-made basketball player.  Coming out of Xavier as a Senior he was selected by the Hornets outside of the lottery.  Scouts said he was too small to play power forward.  He was too slow to play small forward.  His offensive game wasn’t suited to the pros, and he was bound to be a poor rebounder when put up against the athletic freaks common in the NBA.  He was the classic ‘tweener, and we all know how those guys turn out.

But he didn’t turn out that way.  Instead he gave us years of entertainment, two all-star appearances, a slew of memorable game winners working the pick and pop with CP3, a memorable playoff run, and years of workman-like production.

It upsets me a little that he’s going out with so little fanfare.  It upsets me a little that he went to Indiana for a reasonable two-years and $20 million.  I wanted him to be stolen away from us by a contender – or for a contract that was just too long for the Hornets to justify matching.  Instead, he leaves for a reasonable contract with a team that isn’t really any better than what the Hornets could field this season. 

That hurts.  That sucks.

So this year will be the first without David West in close to a decade.  I’ll miss the perpetual scowl on his face, the disbelieving and sour look he’d deliver to the referees.  I’ll particularly miss the ridiculous “And-1” shouts he’d toss out there all the time – even for teammates. 

I wish you the best, David West.  Thanks for the memories.

34 comments
Chris
Chris

Any good Pacer blog sites out there? I might be following them this season.

mazonmafia
mazonmafia

David west, you will be missed! If he had to leave glad he went to Indy. Eastern conference and small market. He was always someone who played hard and didn't care about the publicity and spotlight although his numbers can't be ignored. Also an underrated defender. Always willing to step up to a tough matchup. Best of luck to you!

J
J

Bower is the blame

ur_gmas_daughter
ur_gmas_daughter

Is this telling to the our current situation or what? Obviously no fault of Monty or Dell but they inherited a bad situation. "Former Hornets forward David West, who reached agreement on a two-year, $20 million deal Sunday with the Indiana Pacers, expressed great sympathy for the plight of Demps and Hornets coach Monty Williams, who clearly favored the original three-team deal as a means to stay competitive without Paul and West. The Chris Paul situation continues to drag on, but one source told ESPN that the league hopes to resolve it "soon." "There just really is no direction with no legitimate owner, so that just makes it tough," West told The Associated Press on Monday. "It really made it tough for me to see myself going back there." West suspects Paul wants out not only for that reason, but also because of "a series of events that transpired after (winning the Southwest Division in 2007-08 and coming within one game of the Western Conference finals) that sent Chris and myself into a different mindset in terms of what we really could get in New Orleans." The Hornets "gave a cold shoulder," in West's words, to backup point guard Jannero Pargo, who had been Paul's best friend on the team. "And (they) didn't consult Chris about anything," West said, referring to former Hornets general manager Jeff Bower. West insisted that, before the hiring of Demps and Williams, Hornets upper management did not consult him or Paul about any major moves, such as the 2009 trade of center Tyson Chandler. The Hornets actually traded Chandler twice that year, first to Oklahoma City in a deal that was quickly rescinded and later to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor. "It's nothing against Emeka, but from our perspective, being teammates with Tyson and knowing the type of impact he had on both of our careers at that particular time, I just felt like at that moment, things, in terms of the trust, the direction we were going, started to wane a bit," West said. "When you have a franchise guy like Chris, build a team around him, I'm under the impression that you've got to keep your franchise guy happy." West said Demps and Williams constantly consulted him and Paul but added that he and Paul both struggled to envision a fruitful long-term future in New Orleans while the Hornets had no permanent owner nor an owner with a proven commitment to winning. "Ultimately, I think (Demps and Williams) got the bad luck of the draw because things were already sort of soured," West said of his and Paul's feelings before last season. "And it was just that idea of trying to build a relationship of trust in such a short period of time."

JNR
JNR

Well, that's a reason to get Pacers season tickets while I'm up here.

J
J

Anyone heard theres a new ownership group ready to buy the team i heard this on sportscenter

Derek
Derek

Simply put, I would love to see him be a veteran on our rising team in a couple years. After those two in Indy when he has turned into Kurt Thomas++, he could be valuable to the Hornets as a stretch 4 for 15-20 mins a game. I'd love it and he could break all those records!

Taquito
Taquito

Will definitely miss seeing Fluffy on a hornets jersey but now i have another reason to root for the Pacers, Collison and DWest, my new favorite team in the East, thanks for the memories big guy!

L_REAZY
L_REAZY

Can we get back to the "State Of The Hornets" talk please? I'm more interested in your thoughts in regards to that, because in all fairness ... we still haven't filled out our roster. We cannot compete right now! I think at the rate its going (two CP3 trade attempts with both the Lakers & the Clippers failed) CP3 will be a Hornet for the entire season, and the Hornets will lose him for nothing at the end of the season, because David Stern feels as if he would have backed Paul into a corner of "no-choice-but-to-return". He will be sadly mistaken and the Hornets will suck, because of this poor decision. So much for competitive balance Mr. Stern, Mr. Gilbert, & Mr. Cuban! .... and then, last night I read that Litvin and Stu Jackson will take over Dell Demps' duties for the foreseeable future! This is getting ridiculous! So, let's assume Chris is staying this season, and lets find some serviceable free agents, because we all know that the 'Big-Time' ones don't want to play for a franchise ran by the likes of David Stern! One another thing ... I appreciate David West too ... but lets move on ... he has! I did however read the article posted yesterday on Realgm.com where David West mentioned that he and Chris Paul found it very difficult to return to the Hornets after trust had been broken with past trades not being consulted with them and being owned by the league reached the point of no return ... as we are witnessing now. Even though they feel that Dell and Monty are 100% 'Stand-up Guys'! It was a little too late! L_REAZY

John in MO
John in MO

David West was the heart of the Hornets. It is sadder for me to see him go than CP. Thanks DWest for the incredible memories. I will still don the teal 30 with pride.

Tin_Food
Tin_Food

I don't see anything wrong with what he did, right now the Hornets organisation is a sinking ship, the only thing that will stop the bleeding is a new owner. He said it himself that the team is in flux, not to mention that half the team is gone. And in any case, right now on paper at least, Indy is better than NO.

Nithenz
Nithenz

As much as i would like to wish him the best, im really pissed off with the players nowadays, if he wanted to win Indy is not the place to be. Loyalty seems to be a word that this era players never learnt.... In Indy he will be one and done in the playoffs, in the Hornets he could retire with the team that draft him, had several franchise records and had his 30 hanging in the rafters... Thought he wanted a championship... can see that he is happy with one and done....

Thechosenuno
Thechosenuno

All of this he left to go to Indiana?! Certainly not contenders.

trigga
trigga

All the best Dwest, wish u cud have stayd on but we understand. Good luck with the knee & future. Pacers are gonna be a team to watch next year

cp3xxnewO
cp3xxnewO

Thanks for all the great years. We'll miss you d.dub

Rob
Rob

Disagree about the Pacers not being better than what the Hornets could potentially field this year. Indiana is a good, young team who just took a huge leap forward with the DWest signing and might get OJ Mayo now for basically nothing. Look out for them this year, I think they will surprise a lot of people. As for DWest, he is an incredible player that will be truly missed by the Hornets franchise and fans. Class act and great baller.

StefanC
StefanC

I'll never forget the day DWest officially became known as Fluffy. *tear*

PP3istheMVP
PP3istheMVP

Love you David, good luck in Indy. Damn shame this is getting overshadowed by the other situation, it deserves more attention to celebrate the best Hornet of all time.

Jo D
Jo D

First "New Orleans" Hornet to have jersey retired?

James Online
James Online

West's comments reveal that neither he nor Paul were "in" for the last couple years and were waiting for their chances to get out, playing the Hornets for leverage in their free agent deals.

Nithenz
Nithenz

Im old school, i may be a fool, but i sink with the ship...

Ryan Schwan
Ryan Schwan

From what I hear he never had an official offer on the table from the Hornets. It doesn't surprise me he walked. How long was he supposed to wait? Until everyone else had spent their money?

QueenBee
QueenBee

He ain't winning a championship there though. Not as long as the Heat, Bulls, and perhaps the Celtics are in that EC.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Nobody take a cruise with Queen! Nobody take a cruise with Queen!

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Indy cornrows is another good one, but eightpoints is where I go first.

Nithenz
Nithenz

Have we been able to offer anyone anything? What are we suppose to offer if we have no idea what Paul Situacion will be. If he was heading to Boston i could understand him walking away searching for a ring. Do you think Dell wouldnt handdle him a contract just like Indy's? or even better? Not assuming that would happen, just asking, as i really dont know...

QueenBee
QueenBee

He said he wanted to win a championship. I don't see him doing that in Indy. If he ended up in Boston, as we originally thought he would, then I'd say he was really serious about winning a championship.

QueenBee
QueenBee

I'm sorry guys. I just really loved D-West.