On Wednesday, Jeff Bower was asked how he accounts for the fact that two-time All-Star David Wests individual statistics have dipped from the past two seasons. Bower responded that Wests opportunities to score on offense have not been as plentiful as in previous seasons.
If you look at his numbers as far as shot attempts, thats a big part of it, Bower said. Weve got maybe a little bit more shot distribution at this point in the season. Between Emeka (Okafor) being on the floor with him, as a bit more of an offensive option, thats a factor. But I think its something that wont necessarily stay that way throughout the course of the season.
Prior to checking out the numbers, I didnt think there was much of a difference in the prominence of Wests role in the offense so far, but further examination proves Bower to be correct. In 2008-09, the 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 17.0 field-goal attempts per game (1,292 FGAs in 76 games). This season, West is taking 14.2 shots a game (341 FGAs in 24 games).
After his season-best 32-point game vs. Detroit on Wednesday, West raised his scoring average to 16.4 points per game, which is still well below his 08-09 average of 21.0. Yet his current field-goal percentage of 46.9 is almost exactly what he compiled last season (47.2).
I think hes been effective, Bower assessed. Hes tried to add a little bit more of a post-up impact to his game, to balance his mid-range, spot-up game which is a good thing. Hes been trying to get to the foul line more as well. I think a lot of it can be attributed to the early-season grind and working his way into comfortable niches.
Wests rebounding numbers have also declined, but that was to be expected to an extent due to the addition of Okafor, who statistically is a slightly better rebounder than his predecessor at Hornets starting center, Tyson Chandler. West averaged 8.5 boards last season; hes at 7.1 now. His 12 rebounds against the Pistons tied his season-best in that category.