|What did Delonte West mean to the Celtics? ‘Toughness’||01.10.12 at 5:16 pm ET|
WALTHAM — The question had not even been finished before Rajon Rondo answered it. “Toughness,” Rondo said referring to what Delonte West brought to the Celtics last season.
“He’s one of those guys that’s going to fight regardless,” Rondo said on Monday. “He’s going to compete regardless of who’s in front of him. Whether it’s a point guard or a three he’s going to go out there and play hard every possession. You’re going to miss a guy like that on your team.”
An unrestricted free agent in the offseason, many thought West would return but he ultimately signed with the Mavericks after the Celtics elected not to bring him back following a second tour that saw him only able to play in 24 regular season games. West missed 10 games with an NBA-mandated suspension and then he fractured his wrist just five games into his comeback.
When he did play, West provided support behind both Rondo and Ray Allen and was one of the few reserves to find a place in Doc Rivers‘ postseason rotation. It wasn’t his best season, but the Celtics offered support and a second chance when few teams were willing to provide either.
He was under house arrest for the majority of the season relating to a 2009 arrest that required him to wear an ankle bracelet when he wasn’t playing and precluded him from attending team functions and even early practices. West also has bipolar disorder and he opened up about it to Slam’s Tzvi Twesrky in an exceptional profile that ran this past fall.
“Sadness is a normal human emotion,” West told the writer. “And there’s a mechanism that kicks in and lets you know it’s time to stop being sad. With bipolar, that mechanism is out, so you don’t even know when you’re sad.”
The Celtics have nine new players with them this season and signed or traded for six veteran free agents including three wing players — Marquis Daniels, Sasha Pavlovic and Mickael Pietrus, who is scheduled to make his debut on Wednesday. They also signed Keyon Dooling, who is playing a similar role to West and drafted E’Twaun Moore who is competing for playing time with Avery Bradley at the guard position.
“It was a big surprise because I thought he would be one of the main guys to come back,” Paul Pierce said. “I thought he did well in the time he played and in the playoffs. It was a bit of a surprise but I’m happy that he’s found some [comfort] in Dallas. He’s in the starting lineup right now and I wish him the best.”
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