Bower: West drop in stats based on several factors

Thursday, December 17, 2009
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

On Wednesday, Jeff Bower was asked how he accounts for the fact that two-time All-Star David West’s individual statistics have dipped from the past two seasons. Bower responded that West’s 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, that’s a big part of it,” Bower said. “We’ve 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, that’s a factor. But I think it’s something that won’t necessarily stay that way throughout the course of the season.”

Prior to checking out the numbers, I didn’t think there was much of a difference in the prominence of West’s 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 he’s been effective,” Bower assessed. “He’s 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. He’s 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.”

West’s 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; he’s at 7.1 now. His 12 rebounds against the Pistons tied his season-best in that category.