David West made it clear after the end of the 2012-2013 NBA season that he wanted to stay a member of the Indiana Pacers heading into the upcoming season and for the future. It didn’t take much to convince the Pacers to keep West around as they agreed to a three-year, $36.6 million deal with West as soon as the free-agency moratorium was lifted on July 10.
When looking at what West brings to this Pacers team, the first thing that most people notice and arguably one of the most important things that he brings to the table is his veteran leadership and toughness. Whether it’s with his teammates or from opponents, West is a guy that doesn’t let nonsense fly and is a guy that you certainly don’t want to cross. He sets a tough, blue-collar example for a team that wants to play on those terms.
In terms of his play, West is hardly just a tough guy and an enforcer. Particularly last season, he’s a key contributor for them on the offensive end of the floor. In 73 games last season he gave the Pacers 17.1 points and 2.9 assists in 33.4 minutes per game while shooting a solid 49.8 percent from the field and posting a respectable 54.5 true shooting percentage.
West really shines in two areas for Indiana: the pick-and-roll and post-up situations. Last season, West averaged 0.93 points in the pick-and-roll as the screener, ranking 91st in the league. His post-ups were the biggest plus for Indiana, though, as he averaged 0.95 points per possession, the 18th best rate in the league.
Not only does West give the Pacers a solid and proficient offensive option, but he also put up solid defensive numbers last season. West allowed just 0.81 points per possession on plays run at him last year, the 72nd best rate in the league. Granted, the Pacers often hid West on defense as he’s not near the defender that his teammates Paul George and Roy Hibbert are, but West wasn’t an abomination defensively by any means. More than that, he also added 7.7 rebounds per game and is aggressive on the boards consistently.
On the floor, in the huddle and in the locker room, West is a leader of this Pacers team, though he may not get the press that George and Hibbert do. He leads by his hard-nosed example and consistent play. Over $12 million per year may seem like a hefty price tag for a 33-year-old big man, but it’s what a guy like West deserves from a team he means so much to.