After doing Delonte West a favor–allowing him to participate with the Los Angeles Clippers Summer League team–Doc Rivers isn’t too sure if the West-Clippers relationship will continue into training camp:
But Rivers is holding to that “no strings attached” clause. After re-signing Glen Davis, another of his former Celtics, last week, Rivers may already be facing a numbers problem on his roster. He may only have one roster spot open, and it’s only July.
And West is a guard.
“I have no idea,” Rivers said of whether he’ll invite West to training camp. “Right now we have 1,000 guards. But if the situation fits, then we’ll see.”
via Recollected Delonte West gets shot from Doc Rivers | The Boston Herald
Coming into the off-season, there were many who believed Delonte West had a high chance of making the Clippers official roster. Back-up point guard Darren Collison was entering free agency and West had a past with Doc Rivers, playing under him from 2004 to 2007 as a member of the Boston Celtics.
In the Summer League, West’s play has been opposite of what you’d expect from an eight year veteran who claimed he was in the best shape of his life. Appearing in three contests (missed the final two with an ankle injury), West averaged 6 points on 36 percent shooting, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. In the first outing, West looked out of place, having not played in any NBA-affiliated game since his stint with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012. During the second outing, West would produce his best Summer League game against the Miami Heat, posting 12-8-3-3 while managing the offense at an effective pace.
With one open roster space, it’s unclear if Rivers will enter the season with one less player than the league maximum for flexibility reasons in case of a trade or if he’ll lean toward a veteran guard or wing to fill the space. If last season showed us anything, the wing position is still filled with uncertainty, mainly the small forward spot. Jared Dudley‘s slippage forced Matt Barnes into the starting lineup while several other forwards (Stephen Jackson, Danny Granger, Hedo Turkoglu, etc.) attempted to soften the blow amidst injury and poor play. If Rivers is sold on what second year wing Reggie Bullock can add to the fray, as well as Jared Dudley regressing to the norm, that could open the door for Rivers to bring in West as the third point guard.
As illustrated here, Jordan Farmar has dealt with injury throughout his NBA career. With West on the roster, he’d provide insurance in case Farmar is crippled with injury once again.
In the piece he was interviewed in, Rivers made it clear he won’t be handing West any easy favors due to a past relationship. Ideally, West fits the Clippers if the Clippers want to bring along a third point guard. He’s familiar with the system, can play both guard positions, knock down the open jump shot, and defend opposing point guards.
Ultimately it’ll come down to what Doc Rivers decides.