Indiana Pacers: Did David West Deserve to Be an All-Star?

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Indiana Pacers: Did David West Deserve to Be an All-Star?
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Paul George may be the best player on the Indiana Pacers now, but David West is the heart and soul and undisputed leader of a team that's exceeding expectations.

All-Stars for both conferences have all played exceptional basketball this season. But, for all the fan buzz about Stephen Curry and Brook Lopez as snubs, there hasn't been much debate about the notable omission of West.

George's improvement and contributions seemingly overshadowed West's great season so far.

Here's a comparison between the numbers of West and a few of the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves this year, per Basketball Reference.

  PPG RPG APG FG% PER WS/48
David West 16.6 7.8 2.8 47.3 19.2 .156
Luol Deng 17.4 6.4 3.0 44.2 15.2 .118
Joakim Noah 12.2 10.9 4.0 45.3 16.9 .139
Chris Bosh 17.3 7.2 1.7 54.3 21.0 .183
Tyson Chandler 12.1 10.9 0.9 67.3 21.0 .240

The Numbers

At a first glance, West's scoring doesn't stand out among the other four frontcourt reserves. On a per-36 minute basis, however, West is registering the second-most points (17.8) ahead of Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler, while trailing only Chris Bosh.

 

One might justifiably argue that Noah and Chandler are assets to their respective teams in facets of the game other than scoring, which is the reason why both were selected. Still, West is also a great all-around player and contributes in other categories to help his team win. 

West is also ahead of both Noah and Deng in field goal percentage and boast one of the best mid-range touches in the game.

According to Hoop Data, West is shooting 44 percent from 16-23 feet, which is incredible for a power forward of his stature, at 6'9". He's also finishing 67 percent of his baskets at the rim, which isn't terrific for a guy his size, but not terrible either. It certainly proves that West is adept at picking his spots on the court and knowing which shots he's capable of making.

Chandler and Bosh benefit much more from other superstars on their team.

Bosh's shooting percentage this year trumps any other season of his by far. He's shooting an absurd 57 percent on his mid-range jumpers, which is probably a direct result of having wide open looks after kick-outs from LeBron James.

Chandler is also shooting (or perhaps more appropriately, dunking) at an otherworldly percentage. But with the looks he's getting, it shouldn't be a surprise anymore that he's leading the league in field goal percentage for the second consecutive year.

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

West is also averaging the third most assists out of everyone on the list. His vision in the halfcourt allows him to easily find the cutter or open man. Only Noah—one of the best passing centers in the game—and Deng, who plays nearly 40 minutes a night, post better assist numbers than West.

 

West's PER and win shares per-48 minutes are also in the middle of the pack.

His efficiency has been an important factor in keeping the Pacers afloat with the absence of Danny Granger. He's also leading his team with his 0.156 win shares per-48 minutes, which emphasizes just how valuable West has been for them.

Furthermore, the Pacers are 26-17, so it's not like they're struggling or out of the playoff race.

The Intangibles

There are some things that coaches and trainers can't teach.

West is known as one of the best leaders in the NBA today. Coming to this young Pacers team one-and-a-half years ago, his leadership during his New Orleans days carried over and he has become the unquestionable leader of this team.

Every young team needs a veteran leader and an inspiring voice in the locker room. West was a big reason why the Pacers achieved their best regular season record in seven seasons last year and competed with the Miami Heat in the Conference Semifinals.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

On top of his leadership qualities, West brings a certain toughness and attitude to a rather passive, quiet group of players. He's not as fiery as Kevin Garnett, but he's definitely close. 

West would fiercely object to any call that he believed was incorrect, and stand up for his teammates if they were being pushed around. He would even fight the opposing team's mascot sometimes to warm himself up for the game.

 

 

Conclusion

West's numbers are comparable to the current All-Star reserves and he definitely deserves more credit for his performance halfway through the season.

His leadership qualities separate him from the rest of the group of players on the All-Star bench. If Chris Paul, partly due to his leadership, is considered the best point guard in the NBA, West deserves to be an All-Star reserve based on his positive traits as a leader as well.

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