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Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 4:30 pm  |  49 responses

Top 50: David West, no. 46

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Allen Powell II

There are certain things David West doesn’t do.

Like, say rebounding for instance. Despite being a 6-8 power forward, West’s rebounding average has never cracked 9, and the past two years he’s hovered around 7.5 boards per game for the New Orleans Hornets. The free-agent forward also isn’t too partial to defense, posting up or driving the paint.

Some fans look at those characteristics and determine that West is an overrated bum, or possibly even soft. They may think the Hornets would be fools to re-sign the power forward, and instead should stick with his less costly, less effective clone Carl Landry. Sadly, this only proves that myopia can make you look silly.

Instead of focusing on what David West doesn’t do, fans should pay closer attention to what the undersized forward brings to the table. There is a reason why David West has been on SLAMonline’s Top 50 list for the past few years.

Simply put, no power forward in the League is a better mid-range shooter than West, and yes, I do realize that Dirk still plays power forward. West’s jumper is that nice. Honestly, if he had Dirk’s height, he’d be getting the same uber-love the big German has been enjoying for years.

And those complaints about West being soft are off base. Some fans see a player who won’t post up and doesn’t hit the glass and think that he’s afraid of contact, or he shrinks from the big moment. Not so with West, who loves big shots. Instead, his contact avoidance is not based in fear or laziness, but self preservation. At 240 pounds he’s actually smaller than LeBron James and Ron Artest, and as Kareem Adul-Jabbar once said, you try running into 280-300-pound men for two hours with no padding and see how much you like it.

Take a look at West’s statistics and spend some time watching his game. Notice how defenders either stay attached to his hip, or aggressively close him out every time he touches the ball? Do you see how Chris Paul is perfectly comfortable allowing West to isolate on the foul-line extended?

West’s jumper creates scoring opportunities for his teammates and driving lanes for Paul. When the Lakers visited New Orleans late last season, West dueled Pau Gasol to a standstill in the first half, and it was only late in the game that the Spaniard’s length began to take its toll.

West wouldn’t get the sort of respect he gets from the best point guard in the League if he didn’t deserve it. By going from a mid-first round tweener without a definite position, to a NBA-caliber tweener who is nightly matchup nightmare, West has earned the appreciation of his teammates and opponents.

As the Hornets decide what to do about West, the team would be well-served by not allowing his flaws to blind them to his still considerable talents. Maybe West shouldn’t be the second best player on a championship contender, but he definitely has value. Those people who believe it would be better for all involved if West just rode off into the sunset are mistaken.

Some folks really need to open their eyes.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Rediculous imo…

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Nbk is gonna love this!!!
    Oh, and AllenP wrote this?
    Classic!

  • ctkennedy

    Carlos Boozer is better than David West HANDS DOWN no DEBATING

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    There better be a PG on here soon, unless half the top 40 are gonna be PG’s.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    smh

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Now, personally, I’d take Bogut, Deng AND Allen over David West.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Where’s Michael Beasley? I mean considering he doesn’t play with Chris Paul, averaged more points (on 5% lower shooting), 1 less rebound, and is not coming off of an ACL tear like West. And he’s not 31 like West. West being a slightly better defender, before his knee popped, can’t possibly be enough to reason that he is that much better. David West is a good scorer, that is it.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    @Enigmatic. It’s a Point Guards world now. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, man..even Raymond Felton.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    It’s safe to assume Elton Brand is making a return to the top 50 it’s safe to assume Paul Millsap is making the top 50 again right? If neither of those guys is on this list, then this is the most offensively bias list y’all have done that I have seen.

  • ctkennedy

    @nbk u think Elton Brand n Paul Millsap r top 50 players in the league foreal

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Should Tony Allen be on this list? Defensively, he’s top 5 in the L, no doubt.
    But if he was on this top 50 list mad people would be crying foul.
    Just goes to show how much offense is valued over defense.
    Now me? I’m a Bulls and Bears fan, I love me some defense.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Kennedy, No I don’t. I don’t think either of those guys are top 50, and neither is David West….

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m not upset with any of the complaints. At all. But, please enjoy the write up.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    The write up is actually really good. But it doesn’t explain how he is better then Andrew Bogut, or Luol Deng. I understand the argument that he is better then Ray Allen, but just because he has a nasty mid-range game, and Chris Paul to find him every. single. time. he is open, does not make him a better basketball player then those other guys (and a number of guys who will inevitably be left off of this list).

  • http://www.optimabbc.be Max

    I think the other 4 guys are better than him.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Allen, you always do your thing on the writing tip, even when I disagree with what’s being written, feel me?

  • ctkennedy

    @AllenP is the list based off last yr or where u think they gon be AFTER next season

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Im still smh at Luol Deng being ranked at 50…

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I’m not really sure. I didn’t develop the rankings, I just did the write up.
    Honestly, I wouldn’t put him over Bogut. Probably over Allen because he’s a better scoring threat, on the fence about Deng and Gasol.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    List should be if they must include these players from 50. David West 49. Ray Allen 48. Luol Deng 47. Andrew Bogut. Decent write up for sure, but were not here to comment on how good a write up is we are here to discuss how Slam has f*cked up so bad already. It’s permissable becuase are the best BBall Mag, but common. I’d take Wilson Chandler over D-West withouttadoubt. So he better be on here.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Wilson Chandler isn’t in the NBA anymore.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    As I have been told by someone on the staff, these rankings are supposed to reflect where they are at the start of the next season. I was told that when they ranked Derrick Rose last year, and I complained because I thought he hadn’t earned it. (boy was I wrong)

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    lol. Really does that count? Does he not have a opt out clause?

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    D Williams shouldn’t be on this list either if thats the case.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Nobody that signs in China gets an opt-out clause. The nuggets have lost Chandler, Smith, and K-Mart to China for nothing, that is 85 minutes of gametime GONE. lol….sorry Nuggets fans

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    everyone that signs in Europe has an opt out clause. Even Rudy Fernandez and Marcin Gortat

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    WOW.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    No JR Smith in the NBA next year?…. but… but… but… he’s awesome… dammitt now this lockout bullsh*t is actually starting to hit me. This sucks. I bet he will straight up tear that L up though. 30ppg I would have to imagine.

  • J Mac

    No PG’s on this list!?!?

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    There will be 11 PG’s.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Damn, Lake, that’s old news about the 3 Nuggets signing in China without an opt-out clause!
    Where you been?! Watching old Sonics tapes?

  • Lazarus

    lol bogut lol bogut lol. u trollin slam?

  • ctkennedy

    i think all the writers should have to show they list 1-50
    how did they even come up with the slots for the players
    You got writers that dont even know thats crazy

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    wow…David West is a scorer, that is all.

  • http://nba.com/lakers LakeShow

    Enig, welllll… I remember seeing that they signed in china and i even knew china had a no opt out deal but it still hadn’t sunk in lol.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I think it would be better for all the parties involved if the writers had to explain why each player was chosen above those below him. It only seems right because most (true) basketball fans have an idea of what each player’s strengths and weaknesses are.
    We haven’t even gotten to #45 and there’s already major controversies.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    Losing those 3 won’t actually hurt Denver that much; Jordan Hamilton will get the PT to develop, Faried is basically a younger K-Mart, and they have Afflalo manning the 2 already. These guys were all FA’s regardless, so odds were they’d be losing them for nothing anyways. Jordan Hamilton must be rubbing his hands together in glee at the prospect of all that playing time once the lock-out ends.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Denver was good because of their flexibility and depth. Both are gone now, Jordan Hamilton might replace minutes, he wont replace all of that production. But i have already stated that Faroed gonna be in play for ROY ON THE Kmart to China article so I feel you there

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Faried*

  • EJ

    Deng is better than everybody on the list so far.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    I watched all D West’s game last year, and I think he is a top fifty player. Allenp broke down his game pretty well, the guy is far from soft. He actually initiates a lot of contact, then steps back for his jumper. He also takes a lot of contact, and is not afraid to mix it up with any one. If you watch him every night you start to see how good he is, he is efficient and can score one on one against most defenders, consistently. The Hornets offense would be anemic over 82 games with out him (if the rest of the roster stayed the same).

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Hopefully the Nuggets being undermanned opens up a slot in the WC playoff bracket… C’mon Houston…
    And, as usual, good stuff Allen!

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Also, the rankings at this stage are a lot harder to score than rankings 10-1. At this stage the players are not as complete, so it depends on personal values (defense over offense, passing or rebounding etc). The rankings lower down are more subjective.

  • KH10

    D West is a solid player, like a far less athletic Amare with his face up game, I’d just much rather have Bogut on my team.

  • http://itsahardwoodlife.blogspot.com omphalos

    @nbk; I agree that Denver will suffer in the short-term, but if Nene bolts as well, which seems likely, their young core of Lawson, Afflalo, Hamilton, Gallinari and Mozgov with Faried off the bench in a Haslem type role, will be better off in the long run. While Denver’s depth was a strength after the trade, players couldn’t get a comfortable rhythm with starting calibre players jostling for spots at every position. I think that’s what hurt them in the playoffs. A clear pecking order and rotation going into the future is going to pay off for this group IMO.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    You have to have star players to win in the NBA. If you dont have stars you need a 10 guy rotation. Denver is at 7, and 1 of them have never produced at even a decent level (Mozgov) 2 are rookies (who will not win you any games, if John Wall isn’t goin to win games in Washington, ten its pretty stupid to think Hamilton and Faried will win games for you in Denver). Nene is their best player, if they lose him then i guarantee Denver wont even approach 30 wins next season.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Unless Danilo becomes LeBron James and Afflalo becomes Dwyane Wade.

  • Soldberg

    Stopped reading after the Dirk thing. Btw I’ve never seen someone so good go so under appreciated until this year’s playoffs, the “über love” thing was also off

  • Showtime

    good write up allen but no way is he better than formention.It at 50 or not all on the list this year.. such a tragedy..

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