DALLAS -- Delonte West says the kids back in the day used to call him, "Little Kidd," because he tried to emulate the gifted point guard who's 10 years his elder. West even called himself "a poor man's Jason Kidd" when he arrived at training camp.
Now West, who has started about 53 percent of the 350 games he's played over seven seasons with the Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Celtics again, said he's eager to begin his new role as Kidd's backup with the defending champion Dallas Mavericks.
"I’ve been a starter most of the years in my career. Being a backup guard on a title contending team or a starter, it’s something that’s just become who Delonte West is," the heavily tattooed, 6-foot-4 guard out of St. Joseph's said. "You always see me pop up on a team like this, and it’s for a reason. It’s not something that I’m running from. Starting minutes, backup minutes, spot minutes is what I built my career around.
"Coming off the bench, I look at it like a positive. You get a chance to watch the game, see what’s going on and me being able to do multiple things on the floor, I can come in and fill spots if its being a playmaker, a shooter, changing the tempo."
The most important thing West can do is play well and stay healthy as he takes over the role filled by J.J. Barea the past three seasons. Keeping Kidd's minutes reasonable is top priority during this 66-game schedule that will offer few breathers.
West, 28, said he's ready for the challenge, but also cautioned fans not to make snap judgments after Sunday's opener against the Miami because of the short training camp. West joined the team Dec. 14 and played in just one of the two preseason games because of illness.
"Its’ the first game of the season and I don’t think you can judge either team or any team that plays [today] and the next couple days and envision where they’ll be at in June," West said. "There’ s no negatives you can take out of a game like [today]. Hopefully, everyone will have a Merry Christmas and hopefully it can be an exciting game for families and fans to watch around the Christmas tree."