Again, it is the preseason. We cannot take anything as gospel but that does not mean that what we see is not noteworthy.
Shaquille O’Neal may have been the biggest addition to the Celtic bench this offseason but last night Celtic fans were shown just how much better this bench is from a season ago. Delonte West, Glen Davis, and Nate Robinson are an extremely versatile and effective trio.
This type of versatility was on display prominently last night with the West/Davis pick and roll. Traditionally, Nate Robinson would run point, West would run off screens, and Davis would clean the glass. However, last night West and Robinson found themselves in a role reversal for a good portion of their shared court time. West played the role of distributor while Robinson hung around the arc. Below is an example of the effectiveness of the dribble-drive offense was with the ball in West’s hands:
As you can see, the Nets had to respect West’s ability to get to the rim. With this, he was able to suck in the defense while Robinson remained wide open in the corner for an easy three.
This is basic drive, draw, and kick basketball most kids learn in pick-up games but the Celtics have perfected it over the last few years.
The Boston bench also found success running the NBA’s staple play- the pick and roll:
This easy dunk for Davis was made possible by his ability to pop as well. West and Davis ran this same play twice before only with Baby popping out for the jumper. Due to Davis’ willingness to take that shot, the third pick and roll attempt provided Davis with an easy dunk.
Delonte West may prove to be the missing link to Boston’s bench. Last year, Ray Allen logged a ton a minutes with the bench in order to provide a versatile yet stable force. West fills that void on the bench with his ability to shoot, defend, and distribute.
Here are some other reasons why Delonte West was such a good pick up:
Here, West goes for the steal, recovers to contest the shot, follows the ball and ends up snagging the rebound. Then on the other end of the court, he pulls a Rondo and grabs the offensive board. After securing the rebound he goes into attack mode and gets a layup before the Nets defense can setup. The bottom line is that Delonte West does not give up on plays.
Here is another:
Delonte West gets caught in a switch with Brook Lopez and successfully boxes him out. Most guards would feign an attempt to box out a seven-footer. West earns himself a congratulatory buttslap for his troubles and as DeadSpin pointed out yesterday, those can get out of hand. In this case, I am happy to see all concerned parties are okay with it.
And yet another:
Here Glen Davis gets a great block and West chases down the rebound from the perimeter.
Just so Nate Robinson does not feel left out, here he is proving he is not just a shooter:
Preseason is preseason, but if the Celtics can get this type of production from their bench in the regular season they should be in great shape to contend for the title. It is pretty clear that this team is absolutely gelling right now.