Pacers’ West a quiet, solid NBA player
by Mike Wells, USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers power forward David West has the names memorized as if there will be a final exam: Kenyon Martin, Stromile Swift, Amare Stoudemire, Marcus Fizer, Drew Gooden.
West watched the NBA drafts in the years before he would be eligible and knew his playing style was different from his immediate predecessors at the position. He didn’t play above the rim and he wasn’t the quickest player on the court.
West didn’t have to figure out his “flaws.” NBA teams told him prior to the 2003 draft that he’d a marginal player in the league because he didn’t fit the prototype of a modern NBA power forward.
“I never let any of that get to me, it just motivated me,” said West, who has been surpassed at the position only by Stoudemire. “If you look around, most of those guys who could just fly out the roof dunking the ball are no longer in the league.”
He’s averaged double figures each of the past eight seasons, made two All-Star appearances, with possibility of being selected for a third this season.
West could easily stick his nose in the air and ask all his doubters, “How do you like me now?” But that’s not his style.
“That’s just never a part of me,” West said as he shrugged his shoulders. “That’s never appealed to me. I always felt like you just go out and play the game.”
Center Roy Hibbert is the Pacers’ highest paid player. Danny Granger is the longest tenured. George Hill is the hometown favorite. Paul George has the most potential. West, simply put, is the backbone of the team. He’s been the Pacers’ most consistent player this season, averaging 17.6 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.
“He just knows how to play the game,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said.
West would go to local parks to play pickup games while growing up in Teaneck, N.J., just a rock’s throw across the Hudson River from New York City.
He had the skills to compete with older players, but was often one of the last players chosen because he didn’t have the tools associated with being a … [For more on Indiana Pacers' David West a quiet, solid NBA player, click here.]