It appears that Danny Ainge has signed another talented but imperfect player for next to nothing.
Reports are out that the Boston Celtics re-signed former Celtic, 27 year old Delonte West, to a non-guaranteed contract, expected to be around the league veteran minimum (in the $1 million dollar range).
Red’s Army (a popular Celtic blog and fan site) had the first inkling of it posted when they were informed that Delonte West was in a local hospital getting a physical. Actually, days earlier, someone (I think a fan on RealGM) had reported seeing West at Logan Airport.
The clues led to the correct judgment – West and the Celtics were ‘working on a mystery without any clues’. That mystery is Delonte West himself and how he might fit in with this version of the Boston Celtics.
Delonte is a combo guard who can handle well enough to play spot minutes at the point and bring the ball up under pressure. He slides over to shooting guard and shoots solid enough from the three point line (37.3% career) to have to guard him, thereby creating space for drivers and the rest of the offense to operate.
More important is West’s competitiveness, toughness, playoff experience, and ability to hit some clutch shots and foul shots. He came up big 2 years ago for the Cavaliers when few others on the Cavs’ team were able to support LeBron James with offense that impacted games.
West is fearless on the court, not afraid to play hard in a physical game, and will dive for loose balls. He rebounds well for his size, drives well (to the left mostly), and has a bit of a mid range game. At age 27, he would still be one of the younger players on the team.
If West makes the team, and only something unusual will stop that from happening, in my opinion, it crowds up the guard position making it all the more competitive for minutes. My guess is that Nate Robinson would be most affected, and Von Wafer fades further down the bench and perhaps off it.
The main strength is that it gives Boston a solid defender at the point or shooting guard off the bench. According to 82games.com the Cavs defense was better with West on the floor. That alone could be huge, both over the long season and in the playoffs.
If Delonte has his head on straight, he can do so much more than Von Wafer on a basketball court and be a valuable addition to this Celtic team.
So the main question, one that Minnesota wasn’t going to wait to see the answer to, is if West will be able to concentrate on basketball more this season. He will be suspended for the first 10 games of the season due to an arrest for having multiple loaded guns and a large knife in a three wheel motorcycle when stopped by police for speeding. I’m surprised that no one has tried to change his nickname to Delonte “Wild” West.
West has been diagnosed for bi-polar disorder (formerly known as manic/depressive) and has been receiving ongoing treatment for it, it has been reported.
One of the league’s more interesting personalities, West is a naturally skilled artist and has an off beat sense of humor to go with a versatile NBA caliber game.
West, along with Glen Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, and Nate Robinson will feed debate of the eternal question…’Can a team of characters be a team of character?’
I have always liked Delonte West. I remember his hot shooting streak (over 50% for a long number of games) as a rookie and ability to rebound well for his size from the very beginning. My own humor is considered off beat by many, so it fits that his seems quite acceptable to me.
With Delonte’s ability to play either guard position, I can see West, Glen Davis, Shaq, Marquis Daniels (or Nate Robinson) with either Ray Allen or Paul Pierce making up a solid second unit.
While the signing doesn’t answer the need for a defensive small forward, it does give the Celtics some much needed guard insurance and perhaps extra bodies for a later trade for that small forward.
Now an injury to either Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen won’t be quite as catastrophic. Delonte gets to play for the team where he started his career and among friends from that team in Perkins, Pierce, and Rondo.
It’s good to have friends. It is good to have depth. Delonte gives the Celtics depth and his mind runs deeper than the average happy soul. West, an artist, comedian and on court warrior, will have to win the war with his own unique mind, hidden struggles, motivations and personality. Don’t let the unique style of humor fool you. Delonte is a deep well.
The Celtics just got deeper by adding Delonte West.