Larry Bird knows this will be a difficult season. The workload the players will have to take on in a shortened 66-game schedule is why the signing of David West is so key. Bird loves what West brings to the team, and his involvement can help spread time out as much as possible to not only make the sprint to the team's second straight postseason berth a reality, but to take steps forward once there.
Even West himself knows this. In his introductory press conference, he took note at the kind of core Indiana had. It's that core and the depth that made the Pacers West's best opportunity. He had other options, but wanted to come to Indiana. That's a nice change of pace, no? An All-Star who wants to come to Indianapolis?
But West summed himself up as a simple person, light on flash and fluff; just the kind of thing the Pacers aim to be. The chance to add to what Indiana was building made perfect sense for him. He praised Danny Granger and Roy Hibbert, expressed his familiarity in battles with Jeff Foster and George Hill, of course touching upon his time with former (and now current) teammate Darren Collison.
West's experience out of the Western Conference, his ability to reach out and talk to guys gives Indiana a veteran and tested asset that can help push forward the Pacers. He made it clear that his goal was to add to what the blue and gold are building, to not upset the core group, but to be a valuable addition to the core, whether that be helping Tyler Hansbrough develop or working alongside Hibbert and Granger in the front court by using his own style.
The big question had to be West's status in regards to his rehabilitation, to which West assured he felt great and was healthy and ready to go. Though the lack of ability to simulate NBA situations is impossible, watching the practice, he's excited to jump into the team.
Bird offered his own insight, making sure to point out that Mike Wells wouldn't understand what it's like to be a professional athlete, adding that it will still take time to acclimate him to the game again, feeling it would take a few weeks before West was truly into basketball shape. It's all about patience with the even keel Bird, and West's development with the Pacers is no different.
When asked if the injury gave him extra motivation, West said he always has that chip; he's always feels like he has something to show. The extended time no doubt helped West and the Pacers, which will help to give #21 a great opportunity to shine. The Pacers are excited to have West and West is excited to be a Pacer. There's little more to ask for at this point.