With stops in New Orleans, Indiana and a brief stint in San Antonio, there was one accomplishment David West had yet to collect going into his 13th season in the league: winning an NBA championship.
Warriors general manager, Bob Myers signed the free agent West to a veterans’ minimum deal during the summer of 2016. West would bring a veteran leadership and presence that made teammates listen to him. He also brought a toughness attribute to the team that helped shed a ‘soft’ label.
During his two seasons with Golden State, West brought his patented free-throw line jumper and a mentorship aspect that helped younger players such as Ian Clark and Pat McCaw. He also brought a high-IQ of the game and a passing skill that was much appreciated by teammates and fans.
In addition to the offensive and veteran qualities he provided, West had a toughness about him on the defensive end. His strong hands and impeccable timing led to many blocks throughout his brief stint with the Warriors. One of the best blocks West had during his time with the Warriors was his game-saving block on Lonzo Ball in the final seconds of an overtime game at Staples Center this past season.
West tracks Ball’s movements the whole way and slaps it off the glass preserving a 116-114 overtime win. Talk about a Big Baller Block.
In 2016-2017, the Xavier product averaged 4.6 ppg, 0.7 blocks and 3.0 rebounds on 53.6 percent shooting from the field. From 15-19 feet out on the perimeter, West shot a shade under 54 percent at 53.9 percent. What this shows is the hard work and the consistency he has in practicing and perfecting his midrange shot.
David West was the consummate professional when he was playing for the Warriors and did whatever the team needed to win. That could not be more evident than the performance he turned in against the Spurs, a former team, in which the Warriors were down by 22 and came back and won.
West turned in a vintage David West performance by scoring 15 points off the bench with five assists and two blocks. He did most of his damage in the fourth quarter when San Antonio decided to double Stephen Curry at half court and he was open for his patented midrange jumper continuously. He capped off his performance with a corner three off of a Curry pass.
In the 2017 playoffs, West averaged 4.5 ppg, 0.8 blocks, 2.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds on 57.6 percent field goal shooting in 13 minutes. His midrange jumper, toughness, veteran presence, screen-setting, rebounding and defense helped the Warriors bench stretch leads and engineer comebacks. West was a key contributor off the bench in the NBA Finals and even got into it with Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson.
This shows West’s toughness and his willingness to not back down from anyone. Thompson was rightfully defending his then-point guard, Kyrie Irving, but that is not a player you want to mess with.
Just this past season, appearing in 73 games, West averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks, while shooting 57.1 percent from the field in 13.7 minutes per game. A year older and wiser, West was even better in his second and final season as a Golden State Warrior. His blocks per game increased, points per game average increased and shooting percentage rose as well. His defense was even better and midrange jumper was as crisp as it has been the past 14 seasons.
Although his playoff role decreased this past season, he remained a key cog to the Warriors bench and team as a whole with his veteran presence, mentorship and basketball intelligence. When he was called upon by Steve Kerr to come off the bench, West played admirably grabbing rebounds, playing tough defense and hitting perimeter shots and the open man with a pass.
David West will be missed next season by the Warriors with his veteran leadership, toughness on the defensive end and ability to make teammates listen to him, especially Draymond Green, and now, with DeMarcus Cousins aboard the ship, West’s absence will sting the Warriors a little bit.
The whole NBA will miss one of the most consummate professionals and toughest players to step foot on a basketball court in David West.