It seems odd that a recent championship team would have a need for veteran leadership, but that was a flaw for the 2016 Golden State Warriors. They developed a tendency to become complacent and lackadaisical, making crucial mental mistakes and losing their cool in key situations. When teams decided to get rough with Curry, hip checking him on every screen and doing everything save for murder to impede his progress off the ball, there was little in the form of retaliation -only encouraging the opposition to continue employing the physical strategy. This all contributed to the team losing the championship in excruciating fashion.
So here comes 14th-year veteran David West - A no-nonsense enforcer who goes to war for his teammates, commands the huddle and asserts himself as a leader in the lockerroom. Someone that will check Draymond Green should he get out of hand, keep the team grounded throughout the regular season and protect Curry from those that try to intimidate him in the postseason.
But of course, just being tough isn't enough to provide significant value to the Golden State Warriors. What else does he add?
Much needed post up offense
If you ask Charles Barkley, jump shooting teams don't win championships and the game should be played inside out. While the Warriors will never conform to that ideology, Davis West offers a direct answer to that criticism with a highly skilled back to basket game - shooting 56.45 from the field on 93 posts up attempts this past season, good enough to rank in the 94th percentile per NBA.com. He does a great job of establishing deep positioning, punishes mismatches, can shoot deft hooks over either shoulder and has one of the better turnaround fades in this league.
A team who's only reliable post up thread was a 6'7 guard, now has a bruiser that can reliably score on the block when called upon.
Deadeye mid-range shooter
West has long been one of the best mid-range shooters in the association, converting 47% of his 2144 attempts since 2011, including 49.27% in 2016. Among players to have attempted at least 200 shots from mid-range, West had the highest conversion rate in the NBA per NBASavant.
On this Warriors team, he'll find himself with as many open looks from 16 feet as he can handle, and has the ability to dribble closer to the basket if a closeout is attempted. Former fan favorite Maurice Speights was significantly worse from mid-range on the season, converting just 42% from the field.
(Illegal) Screen Setter
Much has been made of the Warriors dirty screen setting, but the reality is that every motion offense relies on such to get guys open. West is excellent at holding his man just long enough for his teammate to get free, as illustrated here with George Hill for the Indiana Pacers.
Safe to say he'll enjoy setting screens for Steph Curry, Thompson, and Durant, who only need a small window of space to get a clean look at the basket.
High Post Facilitating
A team can never have enough heady playmakers, and this is especially valuable coming from a big man surrounded by sharpshooters. West gives the Warriors an additional high post passer that can set up cutters and whip the ball to shooters coming off screens with perfect timing.
West can barely jump and shouldn't be relied upon to anchor a defense, but he does not miss rotations and is a strong communicator. West will help Green make sure everyone is where they need to be and point out what the opposing offense is doing. Danny Green attested to his contributions to the Spurs defense in an interview with the San Antonio Times.
The reason why our defense is so good is because of how focused we are with the vets we’ve brought in, and he’s the main one,” guard Danny Green said. “He’s very focused defensively, very on top of things, encouraging guys. He talks us through and helps us see different things defensively. He’s a big communicator on the floor
While West is no household name and doesn't move the needle for the casual fan, his versatile offensive skillset and strong intangibles make him a prized luxury off the bench for every team in this league. It is especially unfair that the Warriors will have him as a reserve for one of the most talented lineups in league history.