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Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  56 responses

Top 50: David West, no. 41

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan

Some players will never truly be appreciated.

Riddle me this, David West was named First Team All-American his senior year and the 2003 Associated Press National Player of the Year, averaged 20.1 ppg and 11.8 rpg while at Xavier University. Yet the man was not perceived to be one of the top picks in the ballyhooed 2003 NBA Draft, how can that be?

Here’s what ESPN NBA Draft expert Chad Ford had to say about the Hornets’ pDavid Westick back in ’03:

“David West is a solid pick. He’ll contribute a little in year one, get some rebounds and block some shots. He’s a poor man’s PJ Brown. They didn’t shoot for the moon on this pick, nor did they stick out their necks.”

A poor man’s PJ Brown? Are you serious?

At a modest 6-9, 240 pounds, it seems that West has always played like he’s had a chip on his shoulder, and for good reason. When he finished his stellar high school career at Hargrave Military Academy, none of the top collegiate programs came calling. He signed with Xavier, a program who’s consistently overlooked and labeled a mid-major. But West went to a program also acts like it has a chip on its shoulder. A program that’s always looking for respect, a program that hates being called a mid-major, and because of it it was a match made in heaven.

As a Hornet, West’s focus hasn’t changed, and as he tried to figure out it out in his first two years, the Hornets were led by Mr. Too Easy aka Baron Davis. Those teams were (sorta) loaded in the frontcourt with proven guys like PJ Brown, Jamaal Magloire and Lee Nailon. But that all changed when the Hornets were able to land the best point guard of this generation in Chris Paul. Some trades, some free agents not re-signed, and some philosophical changes later, David West was the starting power forward for the New Orleans Hornets.

DWest hasn’t looked back ever since.

Two-time All-Star in 2008 and 2009, he’s consistently put up 20 points and 8 rebounds a game. As Chris Paul stated, “He’s not in it for the spotlight, all he cares about is getting buckets.” So why does the man still not get respect? Some say that if Chris Paul wasn’t there then David West wouldn’t be the player he is today, and that’s probably a fair point. But no one’s ever said how good of a player would Chris Paul be if David West wasn’t there, right? The Hornets have asked this man to play center, be a distributor, be their best interior defender, walk the dog, cook dinner for the kids, and build a tree house and the man has gone out there and done it.

OK, I made the last three up, but the man is an over-achiever. He’s not the biggest, he’s not the fastest, nor the strongest, but the man goes out there and gets it done. He can hit you with the mid-range, he can kill you on the boards, he can work the pick and roll, and more importantly he can be a leader on your team. The future is unclear for Mr. West. Some pundits say that for the Hornets to stay financially steady and in any position to re-sign Chris Paul, they have to clear cap room. Other folks say that the Hornets need a youth revival and that West, now age 30, is about to hit the downside of his career.

If I was David West, I’d just have to hit that next song on the iPod, you know…the one by the artist that shares the same last name. Play that Kanye, and tell ‘em that, “We Major, come on homie we major, we major. Come on.”

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • Twon

    !!!WHAT!!! i think its an ok spot….i think.

  • Will

    Anyone else thinks this guy does not deserve to be top 50? Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good player, but top 50?

  • Squirrel7

    I find David West underwhelming, but at the end of the day, he’s a former all-star, consistently averaging around the 20-10 mark, so I’d say he’s one of the 40 best (well, #41) in the NBA.

  • http://Slamonline.com Caboose

    What Will just said sums up the whole theme the writer was trying to make. West is definitely top 50 (I woulda put him slightly lower) given his stats and contributions to the Hornets. Even if no one realizes/cares about it.

  • Nick the Quick

    I like his game offensively but he has got to be one of the worse passing PF’s for a player of his skill set. Don’t know if its the decision making or the hands but dude can sometimes make you cringe once you take away his scoring options and make him pass it out under pressure.

  • http://Slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    I don’t believe I even had DWest in my top 50. I’m not a fan, but his numbers speak for themselves, I guess. Nice work, Ed. Oh, CP3 would still be CP3 without David West, BTW.

  • Zabba

    I can’t find out HoMo Williams position.

  • Zabba

    *wait

  • JTaylor21

    Looks like the SLAM staff was reading the comments on LA article. DWest is the better player between the two no questions asked. I rather have an undersized 4 who doesn’t back away from contact, gives effort on the glass, and plays with a little passion than a fresh out the oven soft, POWERLESS forward any-day. LA is a disgrace to D-Town and Texas as a whole with his eurosoft game, people there would rather take Dirk with them going into a dark alley than him.

  • Overtime

    This is first one ive really really had a problem with.
    Dwest might be top 50 (no higher than 40 tho) but i dont like his game as much as i once did. Numbers are consistent, but underwhelming might be good word for him

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Not a David West fan, either. I have a feeling he’s going to continue to drop — possibly off — the Top 50.

  • http://bulls.com airs

    oh wow…

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    There’s what, 450 players in the NBA? Probably only 300 of these guys are in the rotation, if you consider the number of starters/6th men is only 180. He’s essentially just in the top 3rd of the players with the most minutes. He thoroughly deserves this spot, it will be very interesting to see what happens with West, Paul, Ariza and Okafur this year.

  • http://brimartin13@gmail.com Brion

    I would take Lamarcus Aldridge on my squad before D.West.

  • T-Money

    yeah… im not sure anyone would trade LO, jo noah, horford or aldridge for west. very good shooter but there’s not much else.

  • j

    As has already been said, these comments just prove how underrated D West is. He’s also got one of the most manageable contracts in the L. I think the comparisons to Aldridge are funny. Here is a guy who is quicker, more athletic and much longer, and yet West consistently outperforms him year in and year out.

  • unrel

    i don’t think he’s a top 50 player in the L.. and speaking on just PFs.. besides the obvious HOF names (dirk, kg, pau, etc).. i’d still take LO, d.lee, scola, landry, milsap, horford, yadda yadda yadda over D.West.. he’s skilled.. he can play.. but i’m just not sold on him being top 50.. yes.. stats don’t like.. so he produces.. but we can say the same about LO/klove/whoever if given the same role on the same team.. he just doesn’t stand out to me as a franchise player.. or even a mid-major-franchise player (ie: A. Jamison)

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    look, IF YOU EXPECT DWEST TO HAVE A BETTER SEASON THAN ALDRIDGE youre not just crazy, youre stupid crazy..sorry to the SLAM contributors but it is what it is.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    @j: Aldridge is 5 years younger, with the same age West was not outperforming him, and LA´s allready a better defender.

  • JTaylor21

    @Trail the fact that you just mentioned LA and defense in the same sentence shows that you have no clue. LA can’t even keep his shadow from blowing past him.

  • http://www.82games.com/0910/09NOH11.HTM#onoff nbk

    well i called it. Slam voters once again overrate the most overrated player in the league. top 50, top 12 pf’s for that matter shouldn’t only be outscoring their counterpart by 5 points while being outrebounded. That is not elite. INFACT THE HORNETS WERE BETTER LAST SEASON WITH DAVID WEST ON THE F’N BENCH>>>>>READ THAT TWICE>>>THE HORNETS WERE BETTER LAST SEASON WITH DAVID WEST ON THE F’N BENCH (just incase it didn’t seep in) Don’t believe me? Click my name it will take you right to proof.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    if my comment ever goes through there will be proof West is not a top 50 player. no top 50 player makes their team worse.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    JTaylor: you go by cliches, I saw 82 TrailBlazer games…he doesnt rebound well or block many shots but he guards his men extremely well and defends the perimeter expertely for a PF…I actually know more bout todays NBA than you dude…no, hes not a top 10 defender at his position, I SAID HE WAS A BETTER DEFENDER THAN DWEST AND THATS A FACT.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    ^JTaylor21..
    man bro u dont really care too much for LA huh lol.. iv always liked west.. hes not a beast but dude holds his own and for sure belongs in the top 50

  • j

    It is not out of the realm of possibliity that LA has a better year than D West, but it would be the first year that he’s had a better year than D West. As you said, it is what it is. And let’s be honest, Blazers fans have been calling him much better than D West for years even though it isn’t the case.

    I was about to say… when did LA become a good defender? He has more blocks than West. He SHOULD be a better pick and roll defender, but he isn’t. And he is still a softy in post d.

    As for who you would trade for D West, I don’t think it’s a fair question because while he is currently better than LA he won’t be in a few years when he gets too old.

    If you are asking would I rather D West than Odom, LA, Scola, Landry, Millsap, then my answer is yes. Again people fail to recognize this because he is so underrated, but West’s pick and pop game is an entire offensive scheme unto itself. That is really valuable. It’s not just the ability to hit a mid range j, it’s the ability to consistently use that j to draw fouls, keep defenders away from the basket, and keep defenders from doubling cp.

    Scola has a good shot, but has never been the scorer West is. LO has never been a good second option. KLove while a fantastic young player doesnt have the way underrated dribble drive skills that West has from the high pick and roll.

    As d.lee, his ability to convert on rolls to the basket would probably make him better ,and as for Horford, his superior defensive ability would make me take him over West, same goes for smoove. I can’t say that at all about LA though.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Since my comment won’t go through here goes try number 2. THe Hornets as a team were worse off with David West on the court then with him on the bench. THey played better without a top 50 (according to this crazy list) player. Does that make sense to any of you? Do top 15 pf’s REGULARLY get outrebounded by their opponent? Do top 15 pf’s who play at the average pace for the league only average 7.5 rebounds a game? Aldridge is not a shot blocker rebounder extraodinairre or anything, but he doesn’t get beat at those things by his matchup. David West does. If you don’t believe me go to 82games.com look at west’s on court off court statistics. to reiterate, if you were choosing a pf would you pick the one that improves his team or makes it worse? would you rather have 3 more points a game or a win?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Rebounding and defense are not West’s strong suit. He only rarely posts up.
    But, he sticks a mid range jumper with the best players in the league. He might be the best big mid range shooter behind Dirk. And, he’s capable of posting up when motivated, but I’m not sure he likes the contact on a regular basis.

  • JTaylor21

    @C-Cantrell, no I don’t because it pains me to see a 6-11 long, athletic player just happy with being average instead of striving to be better. We all wish that he had LA’s height and skill level and not be mad at ourselves for only grabbing 7 f*cking rebounds.

  • Robert Womack

    I agree with this spot, West is a 20-10 guy, so yea, he should be here. I know that West was one of the reasons the Hornets were the second best team in the (West) a few years ago. So yea, I’ll give slam their props on this one.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    except he has never been a 20 and 10 guy

  • tavoris

    that’s not right allenp….I was about to comment about David West’s midrange J. He NEVER misses that joint…EVER.

  • Robert Womack

    NBK: My bad,he was 1.1 rebounds a way from 20-10 in the 07-08 season, then he was 1.4 rebounds away from 20-10 in the season 08-09, my bad. That really made a difference.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    20 and 10 is 20 and 10. not 20 and 8.9. Plus that was 3 years ago

  • http://thephotoriot.com davidR

    allenp, west’s midrange game better than amare’s? i’ve seen a handful of hornets games (prolly not enough), but amare’s midrange is pretty wet for the most part

  • tavoris

    @DavidR-YES. Amare is a very good midrange shooter, but he mainly gets open looks because ppl respect his driving game so much. David West is about 10% as athletic as Amare, so he actually drains contested midrange J’s at a higher clip.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Im still laughing at how he punked dirk

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    i like your logic Tavoris. I was going to side with David for a second but that’s very true.

  • Shan

    Millsap will get his chance to start this season for Utah. Jefferson will play center and everyone will laugh when they come back to this article and see how dumb the editors were for ranking LaMarcus SmAldridge and David West over Pimpslap.

  • http://www.edthesportsfan.com Ed The Sports Fan

    First off the commentary on this piece has been amazing, let me put my two cents in after the fact. 1) I would take David West over Aldridge simply on the grounds that D-West works way harder and consistently has put up better numbers than LA. Aldrige, talent-wise, should be killing not only West, but the league. The fact that he doesn’t is an atrocity into itself, thus the reason I didn’t even consider putting him in my personal top 50. 2) I’d take Noah over both of these guys, because the art of rebounding and defense is a dying profession. You can find guys to get you 18 and 8 a game from the PF position, but you can’t find guys to play defense.

  • j

    Coupla three things: 1 Millsap is a beast (gotta rep the Louisiana players) but I don’t see him having a better year than West or Aldridge. He is tougher than both, and a better rebounder than both. But let’s not get toughness mixed up with defense. He’s shorter than West and just as bad on pick and roll d. Also, he has no real go-to move. He can hit the mid range jumper, and he is great on the cuts and screens, and offensive put backs, but he isn’t a guy who you don’t the ball to and say go get a bucket. West is underrated as an iso player but is actually quite effective in that role from the high post. It’s one of the reasons he is a good second option

    Statswise Millsap has shown an ability to average a double double and keep his tough game going all night long, but he hasn’t shown the ability to consistently score at the same clip as LA and West, and he is just as bad defensive because of the lack of height and lack of later quicks.

    Also Millsap and Jefferson will replace Jefferson and Love, Okafor and West, and M Gasol and Randolph as the worst pick and roll defensive tandem in the game.

    As for Noah, love his energy game, but skinny centers scare me. Some times skinny players can play post d (Garnet, Tyson, Sheed), but it is rare. Yes he is a great help defender, and pick and roll defender but any back to the basket big is gonna steamroll him. I’d rather a big brute like Perk, and having my skinny quick guy at the 4, but that’s just my preference. West is neither skinny and quick, no big and brutish which explains his issues on D. It’s also why Chandler was such a great match for him as he could do both pretty well when healthy.

  • http://google c_cantrell

    ^JTaylor21..
    i see bro lol.. yeah id have to say if west had his size and physical gifts he would be a hell of alot better

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  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Good player on a mediocre team. Yawn…..

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  • http://davidwest david west

    Don’t have to tell me I know I am a beast!

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  • kos87

    People always say that JKIDD and NASH made a lot of people a lot of money.Add CP3 to that list…

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