It’s easy to get caught up in the big names on the Celtics’ roster. With four future Hall of a Famers (Pierce, Garnett, Allen, Shaquille O’Neal) and perhaps another in Rajon Rondo, the general public doesn’t know about some of the more exciting players on the team. In my mind, the Boston Celtics have the most exciting backup guards in the league, and putting them both on the floor at the same time could be a fans’ delight. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am talking about Delonte West and Nate Robinson.
If you followed the Celtics last year, you were given some high intensity moments from Nate Robinson in the playoffs. Doc Rivers continuously said late in the season that Nate would win them a game in the postseason and he did just that against the Orlando Magic. Whether he was diving on the floor, dropping a pull up three-pointer in transition or driving to the rack, Nate Robinson gave you everything he had every second he was in the game.
As for Delonte West, this is his second tour of duty in Beantown. He was originally selected by the Celtics with the 24th pick in the 2004 draft and played three seasons before being dealt to Seattle. Delonte, along with the #5 selection in the 2007 draft, netted the Celtics Ray Allen. Also, with Rajon Rondo playing very well in his rookie season, Danny Ainge moved West to free up minutes for Rondo to bloom. After a half season in Seattle and two and a half in Cleveland, Delonte West is back in Boston and provides a steady veteran point guard off the bench that this team has seriously lacked the past two seasons.
Delonte West gives you a little bit of everything on the court. He can knock down the deep ball, set up the offense and distribute a nice pass here and there. His offense is great, but his defense may be a huge reason why he was brought back. With the loss of Tony Allen to the Memphis Grizzlies, the bench lacked a perimeter defender. Delonte West fills that roll nicely. He can guard point guards as well as shooting guards. And even at just 6’3″, West has averaged almost a half a block a game for his career. That’s one likely scoring opportunity taken away every two games. In the playoffs, every bucket matters.
Delonte’s versatility on both offense and defense gives a natural fit with Nate Robinson on the floor. Doc has shown in the first two preseason games he likes to play these two together. Nate is free to play the off guard on offense and guard point guards on defense; a perfect fit for his game. Not only does he make life easier for Nate, but for Rondo as well. Rajon Rondo will no longer need to play anywhere near 40 minutes a game with a more than capable backup waiting on the bench.
Delonte West and Nate Robinson seem to already have a good chemistry on and off the court. Watching these two work together will have its share of “oh no” moments, but will probably have many more moments of ecstasy. The energy between the two as well as the big play potential makes for some exciting basketball coming off the bench. They seem to be great “glue guys” for this time. Their antics off the court can only lead to greater camaraderie on it. Seeing this team and their chemistry this early in the season reminds me a lot of the 2007-2008 championship season, but let’s take it one game at a time.