|West has been a big part of Indy's success this season and has had a great Eastern Conference Finals vs the Heat so far|
Mired in the Eastern Conference Finals vs the mighty Miami Heat, the Indiana Pacers have a tough job ahead of them in their series vs the NBA's most explosive team. But win or lose, the Pacers have a formidable foundation for the future that is equally promising for their fans as it is scary for the other team in the East and in the NBA overall.
However, if David West, a key part of that roster, leaves this offseason, Indy's entire plan would be thrown out of whack. Thusly, general manager Kevin Pritchard is going to try his hardest to make sure that doesn't happen.
West, who started his NBA career with the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans), came over the to the Pacers for the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season on a free-agent deal, seeing a noticeable drop in his production in the new system. In his last six seasons in New Orleans, the Xavier product averaged more than 17 points per game each and every campaign, just to put up 12.8 points per on respectable 48.7 percent shooting while acclimating with his new teammates, playing in all 66 games.
But this year, with Danny Granger injured and more of the scoring load to go around, West has returned to prominence, as he scored a shade more than 17 points per during the regular season, shot right at 50 percent from the field, and even approached eight rebounds per contest.
This success has translated over into the playoffs as well.
Through the first three games of the ECF (before Tuesday night's Pacers win over the Heat), he has been right around 16 points and seven boards in the 15 postseason games he has participated in so far, coming vs the Heat, Knicks, and Hawks. In fact, during the 2012-13 playoffs, West has been Indy's second leading scorer, right behind Paul George and in front of Roy Hibbert. Going to be tough to possibly lose that this summer via free agency.
From NBA.com's David Aldridge: "....And while West will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, there aren't many people around the league that think the Pacers will let him get away, even though they don't have his Bird rights....
From what everyone around the league and the Pacers are saying, it appears that there is a slim-to-none chance that West will be allowed to walk away from the team after just two seasons in Indianapolis, a two relatively successful ones at that. And that is a good thing for the Pacers, because the perennially-underrated power forward is an even bigger part of that team's success than most think.
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