SB Nation's Paul Flannery found high praise for Indiana Pacers forward David West when he spoke to two NBA coaches who know the power forward well and appreciate all he has to offer.
West has been a fabulous presence in the Pacers locker room since he arrived and with a healthier body this season, has been able to make an equally big impact on the court. As Flannery points out, the value of a guy like West who averages 16 points and 8 rebounds without any drama is hard to measure in the NBA.
New Orleans coach Monty Williams and Pacers coach Frank Vogel can attest to having a player like West who is both reliable and tough. The Pacers have struggled without Danny Granger this year which has left West as the only experienced veteran for the team to lean on. It is hard to imagine what state this team would be in without West considering the up and down swings of his less-experienced teammates trying to do too much or working through inconsistent play.
As Williams mentions, West's teammates can always turn his way for an example of what to do.
"David is one of my favorite guys that I've had a chance to coach because we're probably the most alike," said Monty Williams, who coached him in New Orleans. "We're kind of grumpy. We just want to do our job and go home; just leave-me-alone personalities. We got along really well just because he knew I was serious about my job and he was serious about his job. He's tough. When you play against him you know you're going to play against a guy whose going to compete for every second he's out there. He stepped up in leadership for this team. He's got such a strong voice. He's one of the guys I really missed."
Vogel was a little more blunt in his praise of West, making a point that teams do much better when they are a "player-coached team" as opposed to a "coach-coached team" meaning, the coach can't be the only voice trying to lead.
"He's one of the few guys (that) can sort of kick a guy in the ass to get him going without that guy being offended. That's valuable."
Flannery goes on to say" the league needs more grumpy ass-kickers" and the Pacers are lucky to have West filling that role.