With Marquis Daniels (family matters — no, not Urkel) questionable for tomorrow night’s game with the Wizards, Doc Rivers said the Celtics could go small with Delonte West at the small forward position.
In examining whether this odd concoction would work, I first checked West’s height. Yup, he’s still 6’3″. No growth spurt during his suspension. Still likely too short to handle mediocre small forwards, never mind the better ones. (Not that Washington has any of the better ones, I’m just saying.)
After that, I scooted over to 82games.com to see how West had played at small forward in the past. The results? Very, very split. West was pretty horrendous while defending small forwards in ’09-’10, but equally delightful when defending them during the ’08-’09 season. The Cavaliers were outscored by 26.6 points per 48 minutes when West played small forward in ’09-’10 (beyond miserable), but smacked opponents by 30.6 points per 48 minutes when West played small forward last year (beyond incredible).
The verdict? West hasn’t played enough small forward in the past to put together a reasonable sample size to judge from. He would certainly be short for the position, but he’s also gritty enough to overcome some of his limitations. West at small forward wouldn’t at all be perfect, but it might work. Key word: might.
The real thing to take from Doc’s statement is this: when Marquis Daniels misses time (whether it be for family matters or, down the road, injury), the Celtics will be very short-handed at small forward. Even desperate enough to try Delonte West at the spot. Doc evidently doesn’t have much faith in Von Wafer. Wafer would be the obvious choice to take Daniels’s minutes at small forward.