While We’re Waiting… the best NBA free agent left on the market… Delonte West

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Great long-read on former Cavalier Delonte West–  “So now, with less than six weeks left in the NBA season, he waits. The self-medication of basketball, the release he learned as a child, is gone. His checkered past and failure to report to the D-League notwithstanding, West is still just 29-years-old, and arguably the best free agent on the market at the moment. His abilities on both sides of the ball would help most any team that had the space to bring him on and his contract, by NBA standards, would be nominal. But any team signing Delonte West is signing the sum of his mistakes and misfortunes just as surely as it is a well-rounded backcourt contributor.

Society’s standards for celebrity atonement have always been reflected in hierarchical rank, weighted by an individual’s ability to excel within their niche; to entertain. Athletes are commodities, human resources that are utilized to create the most successful cumulative product. It’s myopic, maybe, and it’s dehumanizing, but it’s also business, and that’s how this business has always been done.” [Riches/The Classical]


OSU hoops summary– “Consistency. Ah, the rarest jewel of all. And we we come right down to it, this Big Ten season was about survival. Indiana had the best team; as much as it sucks to admit it, their record proves it. Michigan State played well enough to share second place. But I’m most proud of Ohio State and Thad Matta.

How this team pulled out their last five games undefeated is beyond me. I was thinking 3-2, 2-3 if there’s bad luck. But the newfound consistency and toughness that they found amidst the chaos and crap of the Big Ten this year is impressive, and that’s why I’m looking forward to the NCAA tournament with an optimism I didn’t think I’d have a few weeks ago.” [Ginter/Eleven Warriors]


What part (if any) does pace of play affect an underdog’s bid for a win in the NBA– “Let’s resurface from that tide of pace data we just submerged in. What can we do with this information? The initial instinct is that any team preparing for a game can better their chances by slowing down the pace. There are a few points to consider though.

First, this would only prove successful should the underdog team’s natural pace be slow, and their opponent plays at a speed closer to league average. Remember that by my definition, two teams that both run 85 possessions per game would be excluded from this study. We’re looking for pace mismatches and whether an underdog capitalized on it.

Second, to expand on Dr. Oliver’s theory, there is eventually a point when a team’s chances can’t be salvaged by any strategy. If Vegas lists you as a 15 point underdog, your probability of winning the game is as likely as a Steve Novak lay-up.” [Koo/Hickory High]


Breaking down draft prospect Alec Ogletree– “But my want of a defense-defining linebacker trumps it. Great defenses usually have a linebacker associated with them. Nitschke, Butkus, Lambert, Taylor. When I think of the Browns and dominating, defense-defining linebacker, the closest I come is Chip Banks. We’re way overdue for our killer linebacker. I think Ogletree can be that sort of player and so let’s look a little closer. If he measures up, I take him over Cooper. If he doesn’t, Cooper will be a fine pick.” [Kanick]


“Assuming he’s telling the truth — and you’d like to think the guy would be honest in his new job, and he did promise he wouldn’t play games — that leaves some serious markers. James Harrison, the soon to be 35-year-old linebacker cut by the Steelers? Stopgap.

Cliff Avril, a 26-year-old pass-rusher? Not a stopgap.

Banner’s emphasis seems very similar to the Carmen Policy Browns, who tried to focus on guys just reaching free agency for the first time, meaning they had four years in the league and were young enough to make an impact with their new team.” [McManamon/FSO]

  • Harv 21

    Nice piece on Delonte but disagree with his conclusion that “the fundamental problem, the single simplest reason why this is the
    reality in which these players find themselves, is all the more
    heartbreaking for how simple it is—no one quite wants to say what
    everyone knows, or acknowledge this problem enough to embrace the task
    of fixing it.”

    The problem is not a lack of sensitivity by the team or public. The Cavs did admirably handling Delonte’s issues with sensitivity and confidentiality. The local writers voluntarily backed off certain things to help Delonte. But the dynamics of a professional sports team – pressure performance, constant public scrutiny, meshing with teammates and coaches, being away from home and resources for extended stretches, hanger-ons who might not have your best interests at heart – aren’t optimal for someone with mental illness.

    To me, the “fundamental problem” is that not everyone is able to be sports entertainers as such is currently constructed, even someone with physical skills and wonderful understanding of the game of a Delonte. Some guys with personal issues , like Albert Belle, Jimmy Piersall, Dennis Rodman – can barely hang in. Others, like Tony Horton and who knows how many others, just aren’t suited for it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Poor Delonte.

  • mgbode

    Kanicki and I agree about most prospects, but we disagree on Ogletree. I see a guy who is going to struggle athletically at the next level and who does not deserve to be a 1st round pick, let alone a top10 pick. He is not a game-changing LBer. No thanks.

    And, he compounds it by suggesting picking an OG at #6. Value is CB, Pass-Rusher, LT, QB in the top10. We have needs at CB and pass rusher and there are guys available. Selecting an OG there is a waste for a team who needs so much more (and with viable alternatives in FA now).

  • Cynic

    Totally agree with Harv and Sham. Will always love delonte for what he brought to the court, will always feel bad for how it played out, but that’s the unfortunate reality of pro sports. Cleveland fans … as much as any other fans in the country … appreciate and love players that give everything to the game/team. In the context of his own mental health … especially given the circumstances that Harv describes + the added scrutiny that was associated with being in cleveland during the last few years of the lebron era … Delonte gave more of himself to the team and the pursuit of winning a championship than any individual athlete in recent cleveland sports history. I pray for his long-term success and stability in life. He deserves it.