Lakers Rumors: Delonte West a Must-Sign for Struggling LA Team

Stephen SheehanCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2012

Delonte West is an underrated NBA player.
Delonte West is an underrated NBA player.Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

With Dwight Howard missing free throws at a rate worse than Shaq, Kobe Bryant struggling with a balky back and Steve Nash still sidelined by a leg injury, the Los Angeles Lakers' dream season has turned into a nightmare. 

While Delonte West won't help Superman sink game-clinchers from the charity stripe or magically heal the Lakers' wounded, the veteran point guard is a must-sign for a team that's gone 3-7 during its last 10 games. 

In Nash's 22-game absence, the Lakers have attempted to patch the hole with underwhelming talents like Chris Duhon, Darius Morris and Steve Blake. 

That remedy has done little to solve the Lakers' problems. 

Duhon has earned the most minutes as of late, but the eight-year veteran has averaged just 5.4 points and 5.8 assists on 42.2 percent shooting during his last 10 games. 

Not terrible, but not good enough. 

According to a Dec. 12 tweet from ESPN's Marc Stein, the Lakers are considering adding West—a player whose off-court issues have often shadowed an otherwise productive NBA career.

No firm decisions made yet but Lakers, I'm told, ARE weighing pros and cons of creating roster spot to sign Delonte West to ease PG crisis

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 12, 2012

If the Lakers have any hope of salvaging this season, the debate begins and ends with one solution: Sign West. 

Sure, the kid (can we even call him that anymore?) has had his share of off-court problems. 

As profiled by Brian Townsend of The Dallas Morning News back in February, West suffers from bipolar disorder, has been arrested multiple times and has dealt with financial issues during his career. 

However, despite the baggage, West brings a lot to the table for L.A. 

The 6'3", 180-pound lefty is capable of playing both guard spots and has been part of many winning teams during his eight-year career. 

One of West's trademarks is his ability to facilitate and score, particularly when playing with the second unit. 

In 432 career games (258 starts), the former St. Joseph's star has averaged 9.7 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting. 

West knocks down threes at a 37.2 percent rate, which just happens to be the Lakers' team rate this season. 

While Duhon is a fine three-point shooter in his own rate with a career mark of 36.5 percent, West's overall field-goal percentage is 5.3 percentage points higher than Duhon's (39.5), and he can create his own shot. 

Besides his offensive skill set, West also is a pesky defender and adds toughness and grit to any lineup. 

He might not be the best role model off the court, but the guy does the little things on it that make him a must-sign for the Lakers. 

When Nash returns, he'd be an excellent No. 2 option to spell the aging superstar. 

For now, he'd be a terrific fill-in option at point guard and a scoring spark if Mike D'Antoni brings him off the bench. 

After a solid season in Dallas last season, it's time for West to make his return to the league in purple and gold.