Dallas Mavericks Player Previews: Delonte West

Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Mavs Moneyball's Player Preview series continues with a look at MMB-favorite and twitter legend, Delonte West.

Continuing our Dallas Mavericks Player Previews series as media day looms and training camp is just about upon us, we now get to the major rotation players, the crunch time soldiers.

For Delonte West, it has to feel pretty good to be back in a familiar place. West started last season with his third team in three years, and without a stampede of prospective suitors breaking down his door post-lockout. After quickly making an impression on Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, he proved to be an important part of the Dallas rotation, coming off the bench initially but soon taking hold of the starting position next to Jason Kidd, and even starting in place of Kidd at point guard when needed. A freak-injury was the only minor hiccup in an otherwise great season, though at least it did provide the impetus for a truly great horror-face from the squeamish Vince Carter.

West is the type of player every team needs and most coaches love: tough, scrappy, unafraid. He has attitude, but is also the type of selfless teammate fans like us should be appreciative of. After the announcement of his signing, I admit I was somewhat cautious about West, who carries a bit of a reputation due to past transgressions, including a run-in with the law. Of course, unfair as it might be, it's next to impossible to write more than a few paragraphs about him without mentioning his documented battle with bi-polar disorder. I had wondered if this was the type of guy who, unintentionally, might create discord in a locker room that was so close-knit in the championship-run the previous summer.

Sufficed to say, everything I saw from Delonte (well, almost everything) put to rest any such concerns. He was one of the team's best perimeter defenders, and for stretches was also its most consistent perimeter scorer, taking the load off of Dirk with a surprisingly effective midrange game. When you have a starting lineup containing Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Brendan Haywood, having another guy with Dirk who can create his offense is absolutely crucial, and we saw at times how badly the offense struggled when Jason Terry wasn't hitting.

2004-05 21 BOS NBA 39 7 13.0 1.7 4.0 .426 0.6 1.7 .358 0.5 0.7 .704 0.4 1.3 1.7 1.4 0.5 0.2 0.6 1.8 4.5
2005-06 22 BOS NBA 71 71 34.1 4.7 9.6 .487 1.2 3.1 .385 1.2 1.4 .851 0.8 3.3 4.1 4.6 1.2 0.6 1.9 2.8 11.8
2006-07 23 BOS NBA 69 47 32.2 4.4 10.4 .427 0.9 2.6 .365 2.4 2.9 .853 0.5 2.6 3.0 4.4 1.1 0.5 2.0 2.2 12.2
2007-08 24 TOT NBA 61 31 25.1 3.2 7.8 .413 0.8 2.2 .356 1.1 1.5 .736 0.5 2.7 3.2 3.8 1.0 0.5 1.9 1.7 8.3
2007-08 24 SEA NBA 35 5 20.8 2.8 7.1 .388 0.5 1.6 .339 0.7 1.1 .667 0.4 2.4 2.7 3.2 0.9 0.3 1.9 1.3 6.8
2007-08 24 CLE NBA 26 26 31.0 3.8 8.7 .440 1.1 3.0 .367 1.6 2.0 .788 0.7 3.0 3.7 4.5 1.1 0.7 2.0 2.3 10.3
2008-09 25 CLE NBA 64 64 33.6 4.5 9.8 .457 1.4 3.6 .399 1.4 1.7 .833 0.5 2.7 3.2 3.5 1.5 0.2 1.4 2.0 11.7
2009-10 26 CLE NBA 60 3 25.0 3.2 7.3 .445 0.4 1.3 .325 1.9 2.4 .810 0.5 2.3 2.8 3.3 0.9 0.5 1.5 1.4 8.8
2010-11 27 BOS NBA 24 2 18.9 2.3 5.0 .458 0.5 1.4 .364 0.5 0.6 .867 0.3 1.3 1.5 2.7 0.8 0.4 1.3 1.2 5.6
2011-12 28 DAL NBA 44 33 24.1 3.8 8.2 .461 0.6 1.7 .355 1.4 1.6 .886 0.3 2.0 2.3 3.2 1.3 0.3 1.7 1.5 9.6
Career NBA 432 258 27.4 3.7 8.3 .448 0.9 2.3 .372 1.4 1.7 .826 0.5 2.4 2.9 3.6 1.1 0.4 1.6 1.9 9.7

Finding a good highlight video from the past year was difficult, so you get this instead.

West scored at a career best clip (14.3 points per 36 minutes, and a 19.4 usage rate), but the extra shots did not come at the expense of his efficiency. His offensive +/- is surprisingly not very strong, but as I said above, he was often asked to be the second scoring option on the floor as a part of a starting lineup with anemic trio of Kidd/Marion/Haywood. A more offensively balanced rotation might allow him to focus on his best role, as a defensive stopper.

While that starting lineup hurt his offensive +/-, it probably helped pad his numbers at the other end, and provided one of the better defensive lineups we've seen from Dallas in a long while (Dallas gave up four points per 100 possessions less with Delonte on the court), and was a big reason there was so little drop-off defensively after Chandler departed. West was effective covering either guard spot, but definitely excelled switching assignments with Jason Kidd to guard quicker point men. West is physical, and not afraid to deliver a hard blow when needed.

That versatility will come in handy again this year. West will be able to come off the bench, spelling either Collison or Mayo, and could play next to Roddy in the second unit, and take bigger guards, or form an excellent defensive 1-2 punch with Dahntay Jones, and check the point. On offense, while he likely won't have as many opportunities, he also won't have to force the issue as much, and should get better quality looks. As West's shot chart indicates, he was particularly effective shooting from midrange, and might even be due for some positive regression in his long 2 and three point shooting, though his numbers were all fairly close to his career norms.

Unless there's an injury (or Roddy really tears up training camp), I expect West to be the first guard off the bench for Dallas, and the second sub after Elton Brand. Because this team has so much positional flexibility, Carlisle should spend the early part of the season tinkering to find the right mix. Who West spends most of his time playing alongside is yet to be determined. The numbers say he was better defending point guards, so a West-Mayo combo, with both guards sharing time initiating the offense, might be the best option. Bringing West back became especially important when Dallas failed to lure Deron Williams or keep Jason Kidd, and with all due respect to Darren Collison, there isn't an elite passer on this team now, so it will probably be a "point guard by committee" type venture.

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