A 2011-12 Dallas Maverick #GameChanger: Delonte West

Rick Carlisle, after succeeding in trashing the Miami Heat to obtain the Dallas Mavericks' first championship, saw a significant and important part of the roster bolt or be traded. The small, somewhat inefficient point guard J.J Barea left to the Timberwolves. However, Barea helped the Mavericks by being the lightning in a bottle boy; the man to start a spark when the enemy made gains on the lead or even took the lead. Barea sliced into the paint, pump faked a player to get a clean shot in, or took a three that took off the roof at the AAC or silenced a jeering crowd. Instead, a new combo guard came to Dallas to improve what critics panned his 'worst season' since his rookie year. That man is no other than Delonte West, and halfway through the season, he has been the #GameChanger of the Dallas Mavericks, fractured finger and all.

When Delonte West came to Dallas, many felt that West was actually a downgrade from J.J Barea, incapable of replicating the lightning effect that Barea brought to the table (myself included). While his first three games were horrendous, the same could be said for the Dallas Mavericks as a whole. At this point, the Delonte haters were at their peak: name-calling and taunts were seen on SB Nation and other online basketball forums. As if Delonte read Mavs Moneyball, he answered back every negative piece his critics could throw.

Delonte West began to steal the ball over two time per game on average. Delonte often ended the steal with a pretty pass or a quick score to stop the opposing team's momentum or start Dallas on a run of their own. To counter the image that portrayed him as a ballhog, assists and passes began to increase, with his season best 10 assists in Detroit on January 10. West also has great timing when he shoots, bringing the heat on by shooting great in wins versus Portland and the LA Clippers last week. While Delonte does not have a definite hotspot for his three point shots, he makes them when they count big in keeping a game alive or extending what was a dwindling lead. Dallas must remember, when Delonte has a good matchup, he can be very pesky on defense. While he rarely has blocks, he was monstrous againt Denver on February 15, with two key ones made in the game.

We also can not forget Delonte's contributions off the court. West volunteered at the Children's Hospital in Dallas this year. West said 'It was like a Christmas Spirit to go to the Hospital" and help out those in need. He wasn't expecting the media there, who filmed West's exploits.

All in all, Delonte West has proven to his critics that he is a key piece of the Dallas Mavericks second unit. He became a taller, more efficient version of J.J Barea. A note has to be made that Delonte West has a higher Player Efficiency Rating or PER for short, than J.J Barea last year. Delonte is recorded to be a higher than average player just halfway in the season, while Barea just squeaked by as an average player. While he recovers, another player has to step it up to become the lightning in a bottle boy, to become the #GameChanger when called upon.

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