Good read and insight. I just hope he can step up up and negate Bosh offensively and provide some post and paint D.
If I had to pick between Bosh and DWest, I would probably go with DWest. I would not have said that 6 months ago. West brings much needed physicality to this team...along with clutch shots and pretty reliable production.
Actually Jared Wade did a similar but better write up, check it out:
This is just a snippet:
You wouldn’t know it from the stat sheet, but within the Pacers’ offense and locker room, it is immediately clear: David West is Indiana’s most important player. Danny Granger is probably still their best player. Roy Hibbert is their defensive anchor. Paul George is their x-factor. The two-headed point guard monster of George Hill and Darren Collison is what can make them incredibly tough to beat.
But it is the play of West that, as they say, stirs the drink.
When he is demanding the ball and unleashing his physicality, this offense is a handful. We saw this often towards the tail end of the regular season when he was at his most aggressive ever in a Pacers uniform. It was especially apparent during his back-to-back games of 21 points, 14 boards and 7 assists (in a dominant Indy win over Milwaukee) and 32 points, 12 boards and 22 FGAs (in a key 3-point win over Philly and his only game of the year taking 20 or more shots).
Sure, he had pedestrian stats all season long, but don’t be fooled. Part of this was coming back from offseason ACL surgery. Part was him just trying to fit in. And the biggest part was the fact that his role in the offense is more of a facilitator than a finisher.
Even maintaining this role, he lifted his scoring up to 15 ppg on 54.6% over his final 15 games and had a bunch of nights where he was clearly taking over. Head coach Frank Vogel recognized, embraced and is now trying to harness this new-found aggressiveness.
After West’s big Game Four to help the Pacers escape Orlando with an overtime win over the Magic, Vogel said that he wants the team running upwards of 40% of the offense through David. This is quite a jump considering that the team strategy throughout the regular season was closer to 20% usage goal for everyone.
Before you go thinking that West will be launching a Kobe-level of shots against Miami, however, realize that he will still be finishing far fewer plays than he facilitates. For Indiana, he, rather than the point guard, is often the guy who forces the defense to react. His pick-and-roll action and just general ability to thrive in space is the team’s greatest weapon. His ability to square up and draw attention allows the weakside action to overcome the help-side defenders who are left to scramble to cover two other players, who are almost all capable of hitting the jumper, driving all the way to the hoop, pulling up in the mid-range or making the right decision to make one more pass. The two caught-off-guard defenders have trouble protecting so much space. And if they do manage to contain the damage, a gap usually opens up somewhere else.
This is why and when the Pacers are so hard to cover when the ball is moving around fluidly.
And it is when their weakside so often becomes their strength.
While other teams rely so much on their best players — their so-called stars or, worse, their so-called “closers” — the Pacers make their hay by not caring who takes the shot. They are just as happy tossing the ball to West and then having him make a read on whether or not it is he that has or the weakside that has the advantage. Because that’s the secret to Indiana’s attack: it’s weakside
Zach Lowe, a basketball mind wiser than I, has some additional thoughts to offer on why West is so key to the Pacers’ attack.
He's a helluva player. That's all I can say. It's clear that he's become the go-to option for Indy in the playoffs, and it's not a bad option at all. It's nice to finally have a legit half-court scorer, capable of taking people one-on-one, or drawing defenders and finding the open man. You can tell that he spent the first part of this season 1) getting back in form 2) slowly integrating himself into the team, and then 3) when it came time, he asserted his will and is flexing his skills and that he's *very* serious about this playoff run. He let the team gel over the year and now he's saying "alright guys, good job, now sit back and watch what I can do, you're gonna like it, I've been holding back most of the season."
When you think about our 2-headed post attack of Hibbert and West, and consider taht Miami really only has Bosh to counter them.... it almost makes you believe we have the post-advantage in this series. If the refs can do what Vogel pointed out and not let Miami flop all over the place and thus foul out our front line, we do have a real chance. We have the perimeter defenders to bother Wade/James, we have the post guys to hurt them, we really have quite a bit going into this series that Miami should be concerned about, which... ironically, they don't seem to be.
If West starts hitting on the pick and pops this will open up the rest of the floor too. Imagine Hibbert down low with only Joel Anthony guarding him, or Lebron loosening up on Granger and he gets open for a 3. West is definitely the key at least starting out this series. Let them have to make the adjustments not us.
West is our best player. If we need a clutch basket, I hope we call a play for him.
One thing I would tweak to JayRedd's comments is that West's strongest point is to thrive WITHOUT space. No one on the team has the skill set to effectively attack double and triple teams at the level he does, which runs about a 80% success rate. Almost no doubling slows him down, and some triples fail to deny him a shot, step through or great pass. Danny and Paul struggle to get theirs off the dribble. DC and Hill work best to drive their man back for a pull up jumper. Roy demands a double to stop him, but when it comes he can be hit and miss still in dealing with it.Quote:
and just general ability to thrive in space is the team’s greatest weapon
West sees that s*** and goes totally BAMF on it, typically stepping right through for a layup or showing that and stepping back into the soft, reliable fade. The dude could easily be going for 25 every night, but he plays the team role which makes his stats lower and his importance higher.
The West signing is triple the impact of the Bryon Scott signing.