From Spurs to Warriors, David West Targets First Title With Precision

OAKLAND, Calif. — For many years David West yearned to be part of the San Antonio Spurs franchise, and he finally got that chance last season. Now he is facing them as a member of the Golden State Warriors, still chasing his first N.B.A. championship.

His former coach, Gregg Popovich, believes that West has found a perfect fit in the Bay Area alongside Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, as hard as it is for Popovich to see him in another uniform.

The Warriors lead the Spurs two games to none in the Western Conference finals, with Game 3 in San Antonio on Saturday.

“We’ve got a lot of experience and guys who have seen just about every sort of mix you can find in the N.B.A., so that’s been the joy,” said West, a 14-year veteran who spent most of his career in New Orleans and Indiana.

“Personally, I expected us to take a little bit longer,” he added. “That was a surprise just how well we all sort of meshed.”

West, 36, has experienced a special two-year run late in his career, now filling an important role with the Warriors’ second unit.

“Ah, man, one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” forward Draymond Green said after a recent practice. “He’s a special person. I didn’t know he could pass as well as he does, he’s as smart as he is, on and off the court, just a brilliant person, someone who always has your back. Anybody on the team, he’s riding for you.

“It’s just been great having D-West here. Hopefully, we can keep him for as much longer as he wants to play.”

West had a season-best seven assists in Game 1 against the Utah Jazz in the previous round, his most in a playoff game since 2014. He tallied six assists in 15 minutes last month against the Minnesota Timberwolves, five during a brief period in the second quarter.

Playing for Popovich in San Antonio was West’s longtime goal. After that, he moved on to Golden State to become part of the Warriors’ star-studded roster.

Still, the Spurs miss him.

“He was wonderful,” Popovich said. “He’s a class act. He’s a contemplative guy. He thinks about things. Beyond basketball, it’s fun to be around him to talk about social situations. We’d share that sort of thing.”

“As a player, he’s in the perfect system,” Popovich added.

West has been a steady contributor, surprising many of his teammates with his ability to make perfect passes and to provide a boost at key moments.

“David is such a good passer,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said. “He loves to get to those elbows. He has good cutters around him. We have a lot of guys on the floor who really like to cut and move without the ball, so David has fit in beautifully with the way we like to play.”

Golden State is fortunate to have three centers with distinct skills: the starter Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and West, who joined the Warriors five days after Durant last July.

“I got the freedom just to pick a place to go play ball, and leaving there wasn’t tough,” West said of his decision to depart San Antonio for Golden State. “Obviously, it was just something I wanted to do. It was sort of one of those things on my bucket list. I always wanted to play for the Spurs, see what the inside of the organization felt like.

“Really, last year was the only opportunity I had in my career to do it. Took a shot at it. I felt like coming up here to play, experience this environment. It has all worked out.”

Source Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *