Following some time away from the NBA that was clouded by a slew of continued off the court debacles, Delonte West aimed to jumpstart his pro career once again when he signed with the Texas Legends of the D-League this past year.
Despite an assertion from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban that the team would not consider re-signing the guard (even though he was set to play for the Mavs' minor league affiliate), West hoped another NBA squad would take notice of his efforts.
Unfortunately for the Legends, the veteran took weeks simply to report to the team, let alone log solid minutes for them.
An eight-year NBA vet, West owns career averages of 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists. With considerable starting experience and shooting percentages of 45% from the field and 37% from deep, one would think things would be easy in the D-League for a player of West's caliber. If he were smart, he could use his time in the minor league to separate himself appropriately by dominating the competition.
Obviously, a big part of being able to do that and display such skills is simply showing up. West proved unable and/or unwilling to do that for quite some time. When he finally did, one could say his D-League stint was a tad underwhelming. He averaged only 10.3 points (and 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds) on just 35% from the field, and committed 3.5 turnovers per contest. West also grabbed 2.2 steals per game, but only led Texas to a 3-5 record.
Through a three week stint, West had his ups and downs, but certainly put on display a few flashes of the player he once was. That said, he failed to do it in the early goings of his time in Texas, when multiple NBA scouts flew in specifically to watch him play.
Despite his (late) efforts to catch on with an NBA team, such an opportunity never quite presented itself. Training camp is now underway, but West has signed on in China, believing his best possible offer is available overseas. At this point, he's probably right.
Teams in China end their season in February, opening up the door for West to come back to the states and sneak onto an NBA roster. Should he count on such an opportunity presenting itself? That is the question.
Still just 30 years old, is it possible West has hit the big league hardwood for the last time? It certainly may appear that way. His off the court antics and failure to commit to the Legends fully last season may point to the fact that he's not worth another shot.
If a player attempting a comeback has a clouded past, more often than not he can help teams justify taking another chance on him by letting his game do most of the talking instead. Unfortunately for West, he wasn't exactly able to do that on the minor league level.
West's subpar stint in the D-League allows his off the court past to take precedent over any potential he may still have left to contribute. It'll be interesting to see if a successful season in China will make any difference for West when he returns to the states in February.