Delonte West: Why Acquiring Him Would Guarantee the Miami Heat Another Title

Jesse DorseyFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15:  Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Delonte West #13 of the Dallas Mavericks get tangles under the basket during the first half at Staples Center on April 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Miami Heat are fresh off their first NBA title of the new Big Three era, and as we all know, glory only lasts so long before free agency starts.

Then it's time to look forward to the next season.

Miami has a few holes here and there, as we've seen over the past few seasons, but obviously the holes aren't so big that they can't win a championship with water flowing in them, as they've already had their fingers measured for their rings.

However, the Heat do have one big tool this offseason to add another player.

Okay, so it's a mini-tool, but it's a tool nonetheless.

The mini mid-level exception will allow them to add on player with a maximum of a three-year, $9.7 million contract.

Now, people have thrown around names like Steve Nash and Ray Allen, but Steve Nash appears to be going to the Los Angeles Lakers (h/t Mark Stein of ESPN), and other teams are offering up more money than Miami, making it tough for Allen to turn down one last good-sized paycheck.

Still, there are some very interesting names on the market.

Macus Camby might take a pay cut to come to Miami, but that's what everyone thought about Samuel Dalembert last season, and that never happened.

Most will look at the Heat, see their lack of a center and think it's a real problem, but it might not be.

Miami took on Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka en route to their its and only in eight games did a guy not named Kevin Garnett score in double-digits, while Garnett did so in every game.

The fact is that Miami's defense has been able to cobble themselves together to the point that they're able to hang big men up with their athleticism.

That, paired with Chris Bosh's playing more aggressively and LeBron's hanging around in the post more has more or less solved the Heat's center problem.

The biggest issue Miami has had in the past two seasons has been getting any kind of production from its bench, aside from the stray corner three here and there.

The 22.9 points per game that came from the Heat bench this year was the third-worst in the NBA, just ahead of the Lakers and Celtics, although they were still able to defend rather well, as the starters for Miami hid the team's bench guys not named Udonis Haslem.

Because of that, it seems to me that the Miami Heat are going to need a guy who can create something on offense, not only for himself, but for others, all while playing some good defense.

That's why—okay, before I say it, I'll need you guys to brace yourselves. Like really brace yourselves, because this one's a doozy, and it might be hard to swallow.

Okay, here I have to advocate that from a basketball perspective the best available free agent in the price range of the Miami Heat is Delonte West.

Now Delonte has some personal problems that he might not be past, but he has shown an ability to keep them out of basketball since he was arrested nearly three years ago.

However, currently backing up Mario Chalmers and Dwyane Wade are Norris Cole and Mike Miller. One is a young, shaky talent and the other is a dude who might not be able to walk all summer long with his bad back.

Automatically, you've got a guy who becomes the first guard off the bench.

Not only that, but he's a guy who can hold his own with the ball in his hands, he's a decent passer on offense, and he can create for himself. In the flow of an offense, he's a decent shooter from distance and great at scoring in contact as far as guards go.

Beyond that, West is an incredible defender.

He's still got the youth in his legs to keep up with younger guards, and he's strong enough to keep bigger guards from pushing past him.

The reward that could come from signing West could be huge compared to the risk.


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