In the 13th installment of the ESPN Boston Celtics summer forecast, 18 writers from eight Celtics blogs take a look at what production the Celtics can expect to get from the newest Celtic, Delonte West. Despite West’s multiple off-court issues (bi-polar disorder, 10-game suspension for carrying loaded weapons, possible affair with LeBron James’s mother), our panel expected West to play a significant role off the bench. Most writers expected West to be Ray Allen’s backup at the shooting guard position, but others felt West may play some point guard as well. Here’s what Jay and I had to say:
Jay King, CelticsTown (8 points, 3 assists, 18 minutes)
Delonte West, on the court, helps the Celtics. He’s a rugged defender, legitimate shooter, and he understands his role. Simply put, West is a winner. That’s the reason Danny Ainge called himself a big fan of West’s, and that’s the reason the Celtics signed West. He’s instantly the Celtics most talented, well-rounded guard off the bench, and his selflessness and toughness make him a coach’s dream — on the court, at least. But let’s not pretend West is perfect. He comes with a lot of baggage, after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and later getting arrested while doing his best impersonation of Al Pacino in Scarface. That being said, with a strong support system led by Shaquille O’Neal (who West calls a big brother-type), Doc Rivers, and a few former teammates, West is in a good situation to succeed. Call me optimistic, but I’d be surprised to see another setback.
Tommy King, CelticsTown (7.5 points, 2.5 assists, 18 minutes)
From a basketball standpoint, I am very excited about the Delonte West signing. West immediately usurps the backup shooting guard role from Von Wafer — no training camp necessary. West will bring toughness and consistency to a high-octane but sporadic second unit. West is a smart player who will do whatever needs to be done. In some games, West will score 15 points and focus on offense. Other times, when Shaquille O’Neal or Glen Davis are playing well, West will distribute the ball and focus on defense. West is also a player Doc Rivers can trust in crunch time, or in high-intensity playoff games.
For more predictions and insight on the enigma that is Delonte West, go ahead and check out the ESPN Boston Celtics summer forecast.