David West Has Found The Fountain of Youth in Oakland

Golden State Warriors, (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Golden State Warriors, (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

David West has seemingly found the fountain of youth this season with the Golden State Warriors.

Once again, the Golden State Warriors are rolling through the regular season with a 13-4 record. Much of the talk has been about the dominant starting-five and if this team will repeat as champions. While the starters have been incredible, the bench might be more efficient. It is even  conceivable that this team is the deepest in the Steve Kerr era.

Many writers will point to Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston as the the main culprits on why this team has so much depth. But, silently David West may be the most important bench player on this team.

In the summer of 2016 after losing in the NBA Finals, the Warriors replaced crowd-favorite Marreese Speights with West. West seemed to be on his last legs as he looked old and slow in a San Antonio Spurs uniform during the 2015-16 season.

Many fans were unhappy that the Warriors did not retain Speights, who was seven years younger and provided instant scoring off the bench. It turned out that West was a much more cerebral player than Speights and fit Kerr’s free-flowing offense perfectly.

Last season, West was efficient with decent numbers. He averaged five points, three rebounds, and two assists in just 13 minutes per game. His highlights included finding Ian Clark for backdoor layups and displaying incredible toughness on a daily basis. His physical play against Tristan Thompson in the NBA Finals was a perfect example of his toughness.

He even shot over 50 percent from the field but there were times where he was a liability on defense, looking like the player in San Antonio. There was speculation that West might have retired after last season. But this offseason, he signed another year deal to stay with the team and he has not disappointed.

This season, West seems to have found the fountain of youth, looking spry on both ends of the floor. West is shooting a ridiculous 70 percent from the field, scoring in a variety of ways. His patented 18-foot jumper and jump hook have been his main weapons

He no longer has Clark making back cuts but Nick Young and Omri Casspi have been trying to fill that void. West has increased his scoring to seven points, grabbing three rebounds and dishing out two assists in just 11 minutes per game.

To put that into perspective, West is tied for first on the team in Player Efficiency Rating with Stephen Curry, who is fifth in the NBA. Only Tyreke Evans is listed in the Top-20 that is not a starter, another player that is having an outstanding season. Not only is West having his best season since Indiana on offense, his defense may be even better.

West averages three rebounds, which is incredible for only playing 11 minutes per game. His blocked shots have been even more impressive. West averages almost 1.5 blocks per game. This is unheard of for a player that has never been known as a defensive stalwart.

Players that block shots usually are young and can jump out of the gym. West has neither one of those qualities. He is an undersized center that is 37 years old, one of the oldest players in the NBA. West gets most of his blocks with great timing and using his incredible basketball IQ, much like Kevin Durant.

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It seems unfathomable that a 37-year old is accomplishing this but maybe there is something in the water in Oakland. West has stated that this will be his last season but if he keeps playing like this, why would it be? It is clear that West has found the fountain of youth. Now the Warriors just hope it leads in another championship.