Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's Official: Hawks Re-Sign Mario West To 10-Day Contract

Mike Woodson, on 1/12/10 as reported by Ken Sugiura of the AJC:
"I love everything about Mario West. I've always loved what he's done for our ballclub* from day one. He pushes practice. I'm not scared to throw him in the game and he has to defend the best player on the opposing team. So it's good to have him back in a Hawk uniform."
*In the story this is actually (I assume) a typo and reads "ballcub" which would be a great nickname for West were he not already nicknamed Greasy.

Bret LaGree, 6/8/09 on Hoopinion:
The most specialized* specialist in the NBA, putative energy guy, and offensive rebounder of such abandonment that he might be classified as a health risk Mario West accomplished at least two things in his (baffling in its very existence) second NBA season:
  1. He scored more points than he committed fouls.
  2. He proved that he cannot contribute at all on the offensive end.
West failed to match even the low offensive standard of his rookie season by shooting far less often, making a lower percentage of his shots, turning the ball over far more often, and making less than half of his free throws.

*Useful for harassing the opposition's best perimeter player while he dribbles down the clock on an end of quarter possession.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Every day that Mario West spends on the Hawks' roster is an indictment of the organization's competence. Certainly seems like a nice guy, though.
I don't retract the good luck I wished West on the occasion of him getting cut in October. Nor do I retract this accompanying sentiment:
...any NBA team that uses a roster spot on him isn't serious about the end of its bench.
As pointless as it is to use a roster spot on West, to play him in games that count (at least for stretches longer than a Mario) actively damages the team's chances of winning. Until Monday's win in Boston Marvin Williams has often been surplus to defensive requirements late in games. Jeff Teague rarely gets the call to try to keep a quick guard in front of him more often than Bibby, Crawford, or Joe Johnson can manage. But Mike Woodson's not scared to throw Mario West, who can't actually stay in front of someone (without fouling) who is trying to play basketball, out there and have him defend the opposing team's best player.

This contradiction doesn't undermine the improvements Woodson has made as a coach over the last two seasons but it doesn't encourage one to speak up on his behalf for an offer of an extension.


Justin Knowles said...

I really appreciate your regularly good insights, but I think you're way off on this one. How is West any less useful than an Othello Hunter? He is an energy guy, and throwing him in a game where the team is sleep-walking (like has happened a lot lately) can only help, regardless of any quick fouls he picks up.

Bret LaGree said...

The problem is that the Hawks act as if Othello Hunter and Mario West are the only two candidates for that roster spot even though neither has demonstrated any ability to contribute in the NBA.

There exist freely available basketball players who can enter a game and provide both energy and skill. West's energy stands out because he has no NBA skills and compensates for this by playing at a reckless pace largely devoid of practical usefulness.

I get that he jumps high, falls down hard and makes a big show of harassing opposing players if they're dribbling down the clock to play for the final shot of a quarter. I just don't believe those two qualities constitute the good use of a roster spot.

Unknown said...

Why are you holding back, Bret? :). I will say this and that's that I agree wholeheartedly that if he's making your roster - there are two big problems...1) your scouts are not doing their due diligence and 2) if you can find more than that end of quarter minute for him, I again have serious doubts about your ability to develop players. If I'm Jeff Teague or Maurice Evans and I'm unable to get in the game because Mario Evans is there - I have problems with the coach.

Don't mind him showing energy in practice, but that he's even a consideration for games - that's a stretch. I've seen him make a contribution twice in games where I said - ok, I see the worth. Too bad, that was shrouded in about 30 others where I just am continually puzzled.