Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Player Previews - Delonte West

Ahh, D-West. Redz. Herpes Face.

No other player on the Celtics is subject to such wildly divergent degrees of expectation than our Bugs Bunny loving freak show from St. Joseph’s. The Kool-Aid community’s opinion on Delonte is split between those who want desperately to believe he’s Mike Bibby without the unpleasant haircut, to those who think he’s an overrated Ainge suck-up with brittle bones who unfairly takes minutes away from Marcus Banks. Obviously the Celtics brass want to promote him as a fan-favorite (read – not scary) standard bearer of Wyc-era Celtics Pride (read – .500 ball with no-max contracts).

Having played in a grand total of 39 NBA games, it seems a bit of a stretch to include him among our four most important Celtics of 05-06, but this year is crucial for defining the roles of the future Celtics squads, and D-West has “career Celtic” written all over him (maybe even literally – check out those crappy tats)

Sugar Free Kool-Aid Prediction

Beating out Dan Dickau for the starting job with an exceptional training camp, we sit back and watch Delonte blossom into a steady-handed point guard with a devastatingly accurate outside shot. His innate sense of team overcomes his inexperience at the point, and while never becoming a Kidd-like playmaker, he nonetheless gets the starters to play together like a team.

We are told of epic HORSE competitions between him and Gerald Green after practice, and are given a touching mid-season 1200 word epic from Shira Springer about how Doc Rivers believes Delonte’s “heart” is what has saved the Celtics season from a complete implosion. Celticsblog runs a fine piece in April about how Charles Barkley compared him to Mike Bibby and Doc Rivers in a pre-game segment that, while humorous, nonetheless should be taken as a serious national-media endorsement. Later on in the season Marcus Banks is stricken with a rare kidney disorder, and only through Delonte’s timely donation of 6 pints of blood is his life saved. Later, that same night, he leads the Celtics to clinch the 5th spot in the playoffs with a sterling 22/3/11 gem, after which Paul Pierce declares, “I fully buy into Doc Rivers’ system!” Celticsblog becomes a pay-site.

Stats 30 mpg, 13 pts, 7.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds.

Worst Case Scenario (a.k.a "Blount 04-05" Prediction)

Training camp exposes the fact that Delonte’s uncertainty at the point and lack of creativity as a passer makes him a lousy fit with the Pierce dominated first unit, and his confidence suffers a blow when he’s named backup. The second unit falters under his command because there is no Jefferson, Pierce or Ricky who can create their own offense and cover up the fact that he’s kind of slow and really an undersized shooting guard.

Rivers further confuses the issue by making strange public proclamations about how “Delonte needs to learn how to run an ‘onfense’ (sic)” and later refers to him as a “power 1.” He loses game after game of HORSE to Curtis Borchardt and Leo Papile. CelticsDoom runs a predictably snarky piece entitled “Ryan Gomes is the new Delonte West.” In March he breaks both of his hands while sullenly jerking off and spends the rest of the season sitting next to the ghost of Will Bynum’s career on the bench.

Stats 13 mpg, 4 pts, 1.3 assists, 1.7 rebounds.

CelticsDoom Prediction

Not the second coming of Bibby, but undeniably the best all-around option at the point, Delonte’s roll is muddled by Doc “I have no fucking clue what I’m doing” Rivers, and he suffers through a decent but unremarkable sophomore campaign. He loses the starting job to Dickau in training camp because Doc can’t take the chance of shaky point guard play further exposing his weakness as an x’s and o’s coach. Undeterred, Delonte still gets 20 minutes a game by simple virtue of the fact that he’s a better a defender and the other players like him more.

He proves to be a solid threat from the outside, but his lack of penetration ability exposes his limitations as a true point guard. Tommy will say a million times “Mike, he’s a great rebounder for a guard” and we’ll all agree but still find it annoying to hear it all the time. I will at some point say to PO, “he’s like Erik Strickland without the crossed-eyes” and he will politely agree. CelticsDoom disappears again during the playoffs, but that’s because the Celtics aren’t in them.

Stats 20 mpg, 8.3 pts, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds.

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