Celtics fans welcome back Delonte West with open arms


Thumbnail image for Delonte West.jpgLike a prodigal son, Boston fans — and Danny Ainge is among those fans — are welcoming back Delonte West with open arms. The fatted calf is running scared right about now.

Delonte is back to a place where he had his best seasons — in the pre Big 3 era in Boston West was a fan favorite. He played with fearlessness, a reckless abandon that fans love. He started 71 games for the Celtics in 05-06 and gave them a fairly efficient 12 points a game. He was eventually traded in the deal that brought Ray Allen to Boston.

After he left came the big problems. That reckless style of play led to injuries, there was the run in with the law and the public disclosure of an emotional disorder. Then he was playing for the Cavaliers, who were the sworn enemy of Boston the last few seasons.

Read Boston blogs and chat rooms though and it doesn’t matter. In part because he has a non-guaranteed contract, so if it doesn’t work out in training camp nothing is lost. But in part because they are just glad to have him back.

Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe he is among those fans happy to see West back in green.

“Delonte has been one of my favorite players that I enjoyed watching in my time here with the Celtics,” said Ainge. “He is a competitor and we’re all aware and we’ve done a lot of checks and had a lot of conversation with Delonte and his people and we obviously have a long history with Delonte also and we think he can help us win.”

He should be a good fit, spelling Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo in the backcourt nightly. More West and less Von Wafer will be a good thing in Boston. They have a roster spot available.

This seems to have happy ending written all over it. But then, we’re weeks out of training camp so maybe it is too early to write the ending to this tale. We know how Boston fans want it to end, though.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.