No, no, not Delonte West. Mario West. He earned an invitation to Celtics training camp and survived the initial rounds of cuts that axed Jamar Smith, Chris Johnson, and, eventually, Tony Gaffney. Once Gaffney was waived, it looked as though Von Wafer would secure the 15th spot on the roster. But West's name keeps surfacing. Doc Rivers is a fan, as are the other Celtic players.
Why do they like him? Offensively, his skills are limited, but he's one of those team-first players who sticks around because of how hard he works. He's also a pretty good defender, apparently. In a recent tweet, A. Sherrod Blakely said he's similar to Tony Allen. Here's what Doc had to say:
"[West] just plays hard, he's a great energy guy, and he could be a defensive stopper," said Rivers. "He needs to improve his offense, but the guys love him because of the way he plays. He plays the right way every single time and he plays for his teammates."
Wafer is clearly more talented on the offensive end, but Doc did say he struggled mightily with his shot during training camp. The question is, then, do the Celtics elect to keep a player who could supply instant offense, or a player who's regarded for his defense, hustle, and work ethic?
My main question is just how good is West's defense? Are we really talking about Tony Allen-like defense here? Furthermore, these two are most likely competing for the 15th spot on the roster, so how much playing time would they actually see? Right now it's looking as though the three primary second unit perimeter guys are Nate Robinson, Delonte West, and Marquis Daniels. If West were to earn the spot, is his defense good enough to command any real time? Would Doc consider playing him over someone like Daniels when the Celtics are going up against a team with a talented perimeter scorer who needs to be held in check?
The decision should be made during the preseason, which begins on Wednesday. If nothing else, this should give us an extra storyline to pay attention to as the preseason progresses. Right now I'm still inclined to give Wafer the edge, but it's clearly looking like West, at the very least, has a fighting chance.