After the Dallas Mavericks lost by 22 points (93-71) to the San Antonio Spurs on January 5th, the defending NBA Champions fell to 3-5 on the season. Jason Kidd injured his back during the first quarter of that game, and has been sidelined for the last three games since as a result. In response, Head Coach Rick Carlisle called on Delonte West to handle the point guard duties. In those last three games with Delonte as the starter at the one, the Mavericks have ripped off three wins in a row.
Last night in Dallas’ latest win at Boston, one that now puts them now over the .500 mark (6-5) for the first time after beginning the 2011-12 campaign 0-3, Delonte West had a major hand in things. He posted a game high + / – (+10) in the 34 minutes he played as the starting PG, and finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Through these last three games that West has started, Delonte has averaged 10 points, 6 assists, and 2 rebounds per night.
It kinda seems like his new teammates are starting to believe in what he can bring to this team in that capacity too. As time expired, the ESPN cameras caught Dirk walking right up to Delonte after Nowitzki sealed things on that three point play, and hit him in the chest as if to infer as much. There’s reason to believe Delonte can keep this up too when given his “on-court” history as well.
After coming over to Cleveland back in 2008, he played very well as the Cavaliers starting point guard for that second half of the season. In the playoff series the Cavs eventually lost to Boston, West was the only other guy who showed up alongside LeBron James to compete. He was effective, and has demonstrated throughout his NBA career that the talent is most definitely there.
When Jason Kidd returns I think Delonte may play this thing into a more difficult decision than Carlisle may have thought as far as who starts at the one moving forward. West had started at the SG spot, alongside Kidd, but at least over these last three games the Mavs seem to be catching their stride some. Maybe that’s because West is at the one, maybe that’s because Vince Carter is at the two, or maybe that’s just because everybody else is starting to get in shape after the Lockout shortened training camp. Hard to tell right now.
What isn’t hard to tell though is that West will get at least two more games as the Mavericks starting one for sure as Kidd is expected to miss at least two more. If they win those two, winning then five straight, maybe bringing the Hall of Fame Jason Kidd off the bench moving forward should be considered. At least for a little while. As great as Kidd is, through the eight games he did play this year he is only averaging 4.9 points, 4.5 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game in 28 minutes as a starter. More importantly too, they weren’t winning.
At least for now, with Delonte starting at the one, the Mavericks are.