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Delonte West: Goodbye and good luck

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I tend to overvalue Celtics players worse than an offensive line coach does with his personnel (I call it "the Tommy"). Therefore, a look at Delonte West's time in Boston has the potential to raise the bar for homerism. And realistically Ray Allen's age, contract, and defensive abilities, along with Jeff Green's future are the real concerns stemming from that draft day trade. However, I thorougly enjoyed the Delonte West era. So I've put together a list of some his greatest moments and attributes. To be fair I will lead in with some negatives. Of course this will result in the closing section morphing into a series of rebuttals that praise West. Feel free to chime in. You can even go negative...if you want to get punched in the face.

Negatives

  • West acquired the "injury prone" label after missing 43 games his rookies season. And he did not shake it in the seasons that followed, missing 11 games in 2006 and 13 in 2007.
  • Part of West's injury struggles are related to the fact that he goes all out, even at times when it might not make a whole lot of sense. One play in particular comes to mind. The C's were on their post Christmas west coast road trip. Denver was the opponent. West attempted to block a shot on the break despite a very low chance for success. He failed, tumbled, and hurt his back.
  • He was stellar at points during his sophomore campaign, ultimately shooting 49% from the floor and becoming a viable fantasy pick up to boot. However, he did not maintain that momentum this past season, as his shooting percentage dipped to 43% and West had some stretches of poor play. November comes to mind.
  • His ceiling may be as follows - solid role player.
  • Every time the C's played the Orlando Magic and Jameer Nelson Celtics fans were subjected to a round of "these guys played together in college" stories. Really? Who knew? That's freaking amazing!
  • Did not always make the best choices when it came to dating. Notice how that article has been archived and yet the one remaining sentence is enough.
  • Is one of the weirdest looking dudes in the whole league.
Positives
  • A better shot blocker for his position than most people realize.
  • Has the ability to get to the charity stripe where he has shot 84% over the course of his career.
  • His game winning shot against the Bobcats last fall was one of the season's highlights.
  • West also hit a three in early March that sent a Nets game to overtime. The C's eventually won.
  • I don't think it is entirely fair to hold West's injury history against him. He suffered from bad luck his rookie season and bounced back to miss significantly less time over the course of the next two years. And besides everyone misses games in the NBA. It is actually the centerpiece of the league's marketing campaign for the 2008 season: "Dudes are always hurt in the NBA" or something like that.
  • What about West's reckless play? At least he cares. I'm actually going to take the high road and not make a Mark Blount joke here. I'm better than that. And as a side note West only missed one game following the aforementioned back injury in Denver. Although it might have been responsible for the chunk of games he sat out about three weeks later. Bonus points because West is one of those guys who always tried to play. I get the sense he was not entirely honest with the coaches and trainers. While that approach has some flaws, once again at least he cares.
  • Maybe Delonte is just a role player. But it seemed like the C's jerked him around too much. He was the poster boy for the Doc Rivers' "I don't believe in giving players roles" movement. He was always bouncing between point guard, shooting guard, starter, and subsitute. The NBA is full of guys who thrived when they finally landed in the right place. Bruce Bowen and Matt Harpring immediately come to mind. Is it sad that the Sonics don't have a coach, new GM Sam Presti is inexperienced and yet I already trust that they will use West better than the C's did? And even though West was not a natural point guard he did have several big assist performances last season. He is a basketball player, not a guy who plays basketball. Yet again I refuse to stoop to your level and make a Blount joke.
  • Any relief C's fans feel from the end of the West/Nelson teammates stories will be greatly overshadowed by seismic increase in Donny Marshall's UConn references with the arrival of Ray Allen. He does not even make it 30 seconds in this clip without dropping the obligatory UConn reference. I am already dreading this.
  • Maybe West had some relationship issues last season. Has that blinded us from the fact that the man redefined the way we look at Valentine's Day? The whole thing is a comedic goldmine to the point that the following isn't even my favorite part. Not even close. And it's still awesome:  
"So, I pick her up in my white convertible. From there, I'd have the music pumping on the radio. The Jim Jones pumping, you know, 'Summer in Miami' song pumping. Got to keep a little gangsta, you can't be too soft. You can't be in there playing some guy that's crying, talking about don't leave me and love me baby, wah wah and all that. So Jim Jones pumping and then from there, wind blowing through the hair, boom, we get straight to the point -- we eat afterwards because I don't want to kiss no onions. I don't want to kiss you tasting like onions and steak and mushrooms and everything."

In fact West's comedic prowess deserves its own top five list.

Honorable mention - West's Lucky commercial is by all accounts mediocre by his standings. However, it is worth noting that his sub par efforts would be ground breaking for some NBA players.

  1. You could make the case that this Delonte West Uncut clip should be higher on the list. He talks about Jesus' love of the beach, debuts some poetry, and drops some Bugs Bunny wisdom. On the bright side West does in a way get his wish. No more Mass Turnpike and he can wear his Yankees hat again.
  2. "I'm a player Greg." West's response is funny in and of itself. However, the fact that Mike Gorman started laughing as he introduced the clip and the seriousness of Wally Szczerbiak's response only add to the greatness.
  3. Paul Pierce and West sat down together on the FSN set once. The result? Swamp thing, Denzel...Washington, and little Rudy's bail money. Needless to say it is a much watch clip. Although with the trade it is now a little sad to see West talk about the future of the team.
  4. Taught us that domestic violence can be laughed at and glossed over at the same time in the now legendary wire hanger commercial.
  5. The Valentine's Day interview. It ages like fine wine. That's right wine. None of that Cristal. That stuff tastes like urination.