Wednesday, May 7, 2008

David West Needs To Mouth Off

David West tapped the reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki on his jaw to make his point.

In Game 2, he clubbed Robert Horry in the throat, and then clapped in Fabricio Oberto's face to make his point.

There's been a resounding sentiment that West needs to quit running his mouth and just play.

I'm here to say that David West is doing exactly what he should.

New Orleans was dogged coming into the playoffs for not having experience. For being "young." If you're going to take down teams with a sense of entitlement, like the Spurs, who know they belong there, and will do whatever it takes to stay there, you have to get rough. You think the hip check on Steve Nash last year wasn't a message? You think the constant nudges and bumps by Bowen aren't a message?

CP3 is the emotional leader of the Hornets, but somebody's got to protect him. Otherwise... well, let's just say certain point guards get hung out to dry. This is why you hear Charles Barkley saying constantly that if so and so did something like that to his team, he'd let so and so know about it. The Hornets momentum is dependent on an attitude of "We don't give a f*ck." West provides them with that, in spades. If the Spurs try getting hyper-aggressive, West is there to make it clear the Hornets will not be their... ahem... dogs.

As far as West being "qualified" to talk trash, it's irrelevant. Let's be clear. Kevin Garnett is an All-Star, a former MVP, reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and a future Hall of Famer. None of this makes it cool for him to pop his jersey against the 22 win Timberwolves, nor does it make it cool for him to mouth off about the Atlanta Hawks.

David West isn't talking trash to Zaza. He's making statements to Dirk freakin' Nowitzki and letting Big Shot Rob know there won't be any cheap shots in this series without retribution. West is an emotional player that protects his teammates and sets a tone for the series. And it's not like he's been a detriment for the team. West has contributed serious minutes, points, and rebounds for the Hornets and been a huge reason for thir success both in the regular season and so far through the playoffs. Furthermore, West has shown a pretty successful knack for getting away with it. He doesn't undercut players, he doesn't go for cheap shots.

If you want to make an argument that players in general should cut the bark and focus on the bite, I'm all for it. But to make an argument that it needs to be some sort of tremendous player only that gets to run his mouth, I can't get behind that. Because Sam Cassell doesn't score as many points as Kobe Bryant. But he can talk as much as he wants. All you need to be able to do in order to run your mouth is be able to back it up. And Kobe can talk as much as he damn well wants. Not just because he's the most dangerous player in the game, but because he's got the attitude to back it up. And West is doing that right now. If he stops producing, yeah, he should shut it.

But if it's working, which it obviously is, then why stop?

Teams need a guy to have attitude.

Otherwise? Well, those guys are on vacation. And some of them are looking for a coach.

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