Delonte West driving by Dwight Howard, who's probably too concerned with thinking of ways to stab SVG in the back. *RIMSHOT*
Allow me to stand on my metaphorical rooftop and shot praises toward Delonte West, if only for a brief moment.
As Jason Kidd continues to be out of the lineup with a sore groin, West has stepped into the starting lineup and has provided some decent results.
It isn't a secret by now that I love what West brings to the Mavericks, and especially at such an affordable rate. Between his stinker of a game against the Clippers (and who wasn't awful against the Clips?), West has picked up right where he left off when he went down for six weeks with an injured right ring finger: he's making smart plays, providing nice offense and always hounding opposing guards on defense.
In the Orlando and Memphis wins, West is a combined 11-of-17 from the field (3-of-6 on threes), has seven assists, two turnovers and one steal. His fantastic steal numbers before he got hurt (almost two per game) might not return due to his limited use of his right hand, but he still positions himself well enough on defense. According the 82games.com, West limits his opponent to 43 percent effective field goal percentage and forces them into 4.9 turnovers, per 48 minutes. And his offensive game appears to be fine, even with the limited ability of switching hands in dribbling or finishing at the rim.
In both those wins, West gave the Maverick a very able pick and roll ball handler and his midrange game has started to flourish (Hoopdata says he's shooting 35 percent from 16-23 feet but West has made over 50 percent of his 10-15 foot shots and I bet his percentage from 15-18 feet are considerably better than his overall 16-23 range. Those long, toe-on-the-line two-pointers really hurt the percentage, folks.)
He's also posted a plus/minus of +18 in his 50 minutes of play time in those two wins. West hasn't cracked the 30-minute plateau since his return, which I can only imagine is due to a minute restriction as he gains his stamina more than his overall play.
Rodrigue Beaubois needs minutes to develop, but clearly West is helping this Mavericks team right now. It presents Rick Carlisle with an interesting problem come playoff time when both Kidd, West and Beaubois will be fully healthy – who is going to get the minutes? In his short time back and the long time before he went out, West has definitely proven he deserves the time. Let's see if Carlisle agrees.