The New York Knicks need Delonte West

By Robert White
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Delonte West has been little more than a bit player over an NBA career that has spanned eight seasons, but his presence could make a significant difference for a struggling New York Knicks outfit.

Possibly realizing it was the only option to restart a fumbling NBA career, West was set to join the D-League’s Texas Legends on Monday. Although there has been no confirmation that this happened, he did not play in Tuesday’s game against the Erie Bayhawks. Regardless, West would offer the Knicks support they desperately need.

West’s career numbers don’t jump out as anything special upon inspection, mainly due to him being a career role player. His best seasons came in Boston where he averaged 11 points, four rebounds and four assists. However, he was playing a high average of 33 minutes per night. His production slipped dramatically over the next few years until he found a role as a valuable bench contributor for the defending champion 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks.

A couple of injuries limited West to just 44 games last season, but he was without a doubt a valued member of a depleted Mavericks team. While his averages weren’t anything special (nine points, two rebounds and two assists per) he did manage to carve out quality minutes (24 per game) as a perimeter defender, a defensively sound guard option at either spot, and an occasional scorer.

New York suffered an embarrassing defeat in Denver on Wednesday night, their second in a row. The status of star Carmelo Anthony, in addition to Amar’e Stoudemire’s serious knee injury, means the club is severely depleted. West is my no means the answer, but he would help improve what has been an awful 2013 for a franchise essentially playing stagnant .500 basketball.

West would give the Knicks gritty defense, a guy capable of knocking down a mid-range jumpers (and the occasional triple), and run an offense when called upon to do so. Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni, two backup options the Knicks cannot often rely upon, are close to being done as NBA players and although they are pass-first players, neither of them are really adept at running offences in this late stage of their careers.

Adding West to the Knicks doesn’t make the team an instant contender, but it does begin to solve some of their recent woes.

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