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Thread: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Nice article

    http://www.indystar.com/article/20121217/SPORTS04/212180303/Once-questioned-Pacers-forward-David-West-surpassing-outlasting-his-peers




    Indiana Pacers power forward David West has the names memorized as if there will be a final exam: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Amare Stoudemire, Marcus Fizer, Drew Gooden.

    West watched the NBA drafts in the years before he would be eligible and knew his playing style was different from his immediate predecessors at the position. He didn't play above the rim and he wasn't the quickest player on the court.

    West didn't have to figure out his "flaws." NBA teams told him prior to the 2003 draft that he'd a marginal player in the league because he didn't fit the prototype of a modern NBA power forward.

    "I never let any of that get to me, it just motivated me," said West, who has been surpassed at the position only by Stoudemire. "If you look around, most of those guys who could just fly out the roof dunking the ball are no longer in the league."

    And West?

    He's averaged double figures each of the past eight seasons, made two All-Star appearances, with possibility of being selected for a third this season.
    West could easily stick his nose in the air and ask all his doubters, "How do you like me now?" But that's not his style.

    "That's just never a part of me," West said as he shrugged his shoulders. "That's never appealed to me. I always felt like you just go out and play the game."

    Center Roy Hibbert is the Pacers' highest paid player. Danny Granger is the longest tenured. George Hill is the hometown favorite. Paul George has the most potential. West, simply put, is the backbone of the team. He's been the Pacers' most consistent player this season, averaging 17.6 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.

    "He just knows how to play the game," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.

    Often overlooked

    West would go to local parks to play pickup games while growing up in Teaneck, N.J., just a rock's throw across the Hudson River from New York City.

    He had the skills to compete with older players, but was often one of the last players chosen because he didn't have the tools associated with being a street ball player. He wasn't breaking ankles with swift ball skills. He wasn't causing people to rush the court in excitement after a rim-shaking dunk.

    West, who didn't dunk for the first time until his junior year in high school, wasn't worried about doing those things. He focused on the fundamentals of the game, such as proper footwork in the post, a solid midrange game and being a team player

    "I never really depended on my ability to out-jump, out-quick guys," West said. "My athleticism isn't the best part of my game. It's always been my smarts. That's really been the foundation for me and I worked everything else around that."

    West had all the skills to be successful, but the college recruiters didn't see it that way.

    Old Dominion, East Carolina and Marshall were the only schools to recruit him while he was a lanky 6-4 kid at Garner Magnet High School in North Carolina. The major Division I schools -- just like NBA personnel would -- didn't think he had the tools to be successful. It wasn't until West attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia that Xavier got into the mix.

    "He had high-major skills, but his athleticism wasn't what most of the big programs were looking for," said Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Jeff Capel, who was the head coach at Old Dominion when the school recruited West. "We thought we had a chance to get him until he went to prep school. That's when everything changed for him."

    West didn't let the criticism eat at him. He had two motivating factors: future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and the late Skip Prosser.

    Duncan, a perennial all-star with the San Antonio Spurs, has earned the nickname Mr. Fundamental because of his ability to use his skill set to make up for his lack of athleticism. West watched and idolized Duncan while he starred at Wake Forest University.

    "That was validation that it was okay not to be flashy," West said.

    Prosser, the former coach at Xavier, gave West the confidence that he could have a future in the NBA.

    "Sometimes you get down on yourself because (you) don't look like those (prototype) guys," West said. "Coach told me not to worry about that stuff. He used to say, "Trust yourself and trust what you can do and more than anything, trust your work.' "

    West took Prosser's advice and ran with it. He was a three-time Atlantic-10 Player of the Year and an All-American at Xavier before being the No. 18 pick in the 2003 draft.

    Old-school game

    West's career became uncertain when he crumbled to the ground in pain in March 2011 against the Utah Jazz with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The loss of athleticism -- speed and leaping ability -- is the hardest part to get back following the surgery.

    But West didn't have to worry about that problem because he didn't rely on those skills to be successful. His biggest issue was regaining confidence in his left knee. West often worried about how he landed on his knee after going up for a shot. He did his best to avoid having any contact on it.

    Despites those concerns, West averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds last season.

    The trust is back in his knee and so is the old West. Medical experts say players coming off ACL surgery usually don't return to form until the second year.

    West is bullying his way in the post, getting enough space to get his shot off and schooling the younger players who think they have an athletic advantage on him. He's arguably the best pick-and-pop power forward -- setting a screen then flaring to the perimeter for a jumpshot -- in the NBA.

    "One thing about D West is that he's one of the smartest players I've ever had," said Cleveland coach Byron Scott, who coached West in New Orleans. "His basketball IQ is off the charts. He knows how to get where he wants. His basketball skills are some of the best in the league for a big man.

    "It's just that nothing he does is real flashy. That's why he doesn't get all the attention that he probably deserves. That's just David, he's got an old-school type game, it's just very effective."

    Call Star reporter Mike Wells at (317) 444-6053
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 12-18-2012 at 09:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    This is the reason why West at his age right now is still worth keeping. Smart players outlast the athleticism-dependent ones as age affects their game. You see guys like Duncan, Kidd, Nash, KG, Pierce, Allen, Kobe and others still effective even at the late 30s.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by 15th parallel View Post
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    This is the reason why West at his age right now is still worth keeping. Smart players outlast the athleticism-dependent ones as age affects their game. You see guys like Duncan, Kidd, Nash, KG, Pierce, Allen, Kobe and others still effective even at the late 30s.
    Totally agree.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by 15th parallel View Post
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    This is the reason why West at his age right now is still worth keeping. Smart players outlast the athleticism-dependent ones as age affects their game. You see guys like Duncan, Kidd, Nash, KG, Pierce, Allen, Kobe and others still effective even at the late 30s.
    I realize you are only listing current players, but you could add Reggie Miller to the list of smart players who played late into their 30's. And Reggie could have played another year or two if he wanted.

    We need West next season. Tyler isn't good enough to start, so if West leaves, then we will have to acquire a starting power forward, which isn't that easy. Just hope West wants to come back next season

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    DW is still a beast and I hope we can re-sign him for another two year stint. He might not be the face of the franchise but he is the leader of the team right now.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    And I also think he just wants to win (not to suggest he doesn't like to score, everyone, or almost everyone likes to score) but he'll sacrifice his scoring for the good of the team if he is convinced it will help the team win. Plus he is one of our best passers. If you let West leave at the end of the year, and bring someone else in to play the position, who knows they might need to get their numbers or they will cause chemistry problems.


    My concern was whether the combination of West and Roy were good enough defensively as a tandem to get the job done. Well Roy keeps getting better and better, so I think they are.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    He's smart, level-headed, strong, determined, and skilled. That's a recipe for success.
    There are two types of quarterbacks in the league: Those whom over time, the league figures out ... and those who figure out the league.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by 15th parallel View Post
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    This is the reason why West at his age right now is still worth keeping. Smart players outlast the athleticism-dependent ones as age affects their game. You see guys like Duncan, Kidd, Nash, KG, Pierce, Allen, Kobe and others still effective even at the late 30s.
    I completely agree. This is why I would have no problem giving him a 3 or 4 year deal for 8 Mil per

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    This guy continues to move up rapidly in my list of all-time favorite Pacers players. What's not to love?
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I realize you are only listing current players, but you could add Reggie Miller to the list of smart players who played late into their 30's. And Reggie could have played another year or two if he wanted.

    We need West next season. Tyler isn't good enough to start, so if West leaves, then we will have to acquire a starting power forward, which isn't that easy. Just hope West wants to come back next season
    Keeping him will be about affording a new contract, I really think he would want to stay and same with Pacers. Just gotta get the right numbers to make it work for everyone.
    .

    Frank Vogel says "Killer instinct, start strong, build a lead and then step on their throats."

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    And let me add something that I think is common in all of the "ageless" players: they have a dependable mid-range to long-range game. They don't need to always blow away their guards through speed to score. They don't need to always use brute force to get inside for a closer to the basket shot. All they need is enough space, enough separation. Or a good screen for an open shot from downtown. Or a nice setup from 15-18ft. Not only it becomes reliable as their athleticism leaves them gradually, it also becomes a "recovery tool" especially coming from an injury, regardless of what type they may be, and can also reduce the risks of injury as it requires less contact and less force.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by 15th parallel View Post
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    This is the reason why West at his age right now is still worth keeping. Smart players outlast the athleticism-dependent ones as age affects their game. You see guys like Duncan, Kidd, Nash, KG, Pierce, Allen, Kobe and others still effective even at the late 30s.
    I think this is a really nice point, and there clearly is some data to back it. However, the tactics question is: do you stick with West for a couple of years, or do you invest in a player that matches up age wise with the sweet spot of the rest of the team?

    IE, do you put effort into going after a longer term deal for a Millsap-type, or do you stick with West, knowing that you're just delaying a generational move that has to be made? Hansbrough's (lack of) performance is what has put us into this position, unfortunately.

    Thank god I don't have to make these calls.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    I could watch Mr. West play basketball all day long, really hope he is in the future plans of this team
    GO PACERS!!!

    Twitter: @Circlecity3318

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    This guy continues to move up rapidly in my list of all-time favorite Pacers players. What's not to love?
    Agreed. He's exceeded my expectations since Bird signed him last December.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by docpaul View Post
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    I think this is a really nice point, and there clearly is some data to back it. However, the tactics question is: do you stick with West for a couple of years, or do you invest in a player that matches up age wise with the sweet spot of the rest of the team?

    IE, do you put effort into going after a longer term deal for a Millsap-type, or do you stick with West, knowing that you're just delaying a generational move that has to be made? Hansbrough's (lack of) performance is what has put us into this position, unfortunately.

    Thank god I don't have to make these calls.
    I think we don't need to always go younger at every position. What I mean is you still have PG, Hill and Hibbert as your primary youth squad. And Lance can also be a part of it. and you see other teams surround their youth with winning veterans. West being old is not exactly a detriment, as you bank on your other young guys for the future of the team. Having a solid veteran presence that can contribute at a high level can be a winning presence once our young guys start to mature (something similar to the 90's Pacers).

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by docpaul View Post
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    I think this is a really nice point, and there clearly is some data to back it. However, the tactics question is: do you stick with West for a couple of years, or do you invest in a player that matches up age wise with the sweet spot of the rest of the team?

    IE, do you put effort into going after a longer term deal for a Millsap-type, or do you stick with West, knowing that you're just delaying a generational move that has to be made? Hansbrough's (lack of) performance is what has put us into this position, unfortunately.

    Thank god I don't have to make these calls.
    Actually, for a GM, that would seem a fairly easy choice. Given the nature of the salary cap, moves like this will be driven by the economics of each choice. In other words, if the values of the players are equal, you take the cheaper one. If the costs of the players are equal, you take the better player.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by MAStamper View Post
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    Agreed. He's exceeded my expectations since Bird signed him last December.
    I'll be honest... my expectations were not high when Bird signed him. I was concerned about West being a free agent grabbing for the best money he could find while in decline overall. I was concerned that he was just bringing nice stats and didn't know how he'd fit into the team scheme. I knew we really needed an upgrade at PF, but was concerned he'd just be a bandaid. I was concerned his stats were propped up by playing with CP3. (And maybe they were a little bit, but said differently I was concerned that he was primarily successful because of playing with a great PG.)

    Boy was I wrong. On so many counts.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Being another year removed from his injury has clearly helped out a lot. We gotta keep this guy.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    I'll be honest... my expectations were not high when Bird signed him. I was concerned about West being a free agent grabbing for the best money he could find while in decline overall. I was concerned that he was just bringing nice stats and didn't know how he'd fit into the team scheme. I knew we really needed an upgrade at PF, but was concerned he'd just be a bandaid. I was concerned his stats were propped up by playing with CP3. (And maybe they were a little bit, but said differently I was concerned that he was primarily successful because of playing with a great PG.)

    Boy was I wrong. On so many counts.
    Not even clear if Bird would be pleasantly surprised with current performance. If you'll remember, he flew to Denver to wine and dine Nene. West seemed like the consolation prize based upon what came out in the press.

    It made sense to have lower expectations of West. He certainly has been quite a breath of fresh air, though. Consummate professional and tough-as-nails-sum-uva-beyotch.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    BAMF

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    I'll be honest... my expectations were not high when Bird signed him. I was concerned about West being a free agent grabbing for the best money he could find while in decline overall. I was concerned that he was just bringing nice stats and didn't know how he'd fit into the team scheme. I knew we really needed an upgrade at PF, but was concerned he'd just be a bandaid. I was concerned his stats were propped up by playing with CP3. (And maybe they were a little bit, but said differently I was concerned that he was primarily successful because of playing with a great PG.)

    Boy was I wrong. On so many counts.
    Actually, once you look at his per-36 stats over his career, he's basically been exactly the same guy his all-star, with CP years and his two seasons here. It's very close. Further validates his individual quality to me.

    The guy is just smart, strong, long, skilled, and fundamental. When you think about it like that, it's not shocking that he can fit in and do well on teams with or without a great point guard around. The PFs that typically rely on a good PG are the ones who are low-skill, high athleticism who feed off of garbage and hustle points along with great looks for an open dunk.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by Sollozzo View Post
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    Being another year removed from his injury has clearly helped out a lot. We gotta keep this guy.
    That's the thing. Everyone says that, but look at his per-36 year to year. His injury held him down a little (FG%), but not a lot. We just use him more. I think it was as much about fitting in than anything.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers



    His FG% is back up this year, and I would argue the slight uptick in D rebounds is from being on a team with a great opponent eFG%.

    Notice his FGA went down by 2 last year and went back up by 2 this year to match his attempts in NOH.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by MAStamper View Post
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    That's the thing. Everyone says that, but look at his per-36 year to year. His injury held him down a little (FG%), but not a lot. We just use him more. I think it was as much about fitting in than anything.
    Good point. He is also being asked to do a bit more offensively with Granger out.

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    Default Re: Indystar: David West is surpassing and outlasting his peers

    Quote Originally Posted by MAStamper View Post
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    His FG% is back up this year, and I would argue the slight uptick in D rebounds is from being on a team with a great opponent eFG%.
    He could be the best PF in the NBA
    "We want Miami"

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