Wolves 25th Anniversary Memories: Doug West

west_200_dunkThis year the Timberwolves are celebrating their 25th in the NBA and they’ve been reminding folks of some of the bright spots. This feature is on Doug West.

Arguably the best 2nd round pick the Wolves have ever made this side of Nikola Pekovic — and probably one of the ten best overall picks the Wolves have ever made — West definitely qualifies as an early bright spot from the Wolves infancy.

Noted in the article…

In team history, he still ranks second in games started, third in steals, minutes and games played and fourth in total points, field goals made and field goals attempted.

Though the article completely ignores the alcoholism that came to light after the trade to Canada when the Wolves unceremoniously dumped West in Vancouver for Anthony Peeler — for the Wolves, swapping a career 19% three-point shooting 6’5″ shooting guard for a 39% one during a Playoff push can be understandable.

However, for West, the sting of suffering through the dog days of the Wolves franchise — make no mistake about how horrible those teams were if you think the darkest days have been the post-KG-era — to be on those early KG-Stephon squads and see the hope and feel the energy and climb all the way to the first rung of the Playoffs only to be left for roadkill north of the border, abandoned in the equally abysmal, Wolvesian squalor of the Vancouver Grizzlies — these events, their role in Doug West’s public revelations of alcohol abuse and his leave from the NBA in order to seek treatment cannot be overstated (although the impact of the arrival of Peeler can be).

West was an unqualified bright spot of hard work, maturity and athleticism in the face of Christian Laettner, J.R. Rider, Felton Spencer and hopelessness. West’s curls for an elbow jumper and tireless defense — never mind the breakaway dunks — were often the lone highlights of Wolves games.

One of the great quotes from the article…

 

“My biggest thought was that I always had to be in better condition than the guy next to me, or pretty much anyone on the floor,” West said. “I felt if I could run the floor and make my guy run, it would tire him out. I had a lot of nightmares before games, knowing that every game I was guarding guys like Jordan, (Reggie) Miller, (Mitch) Richmond, (Chris) Mullin, (Clyde) Drexler, (Jeff) Hornacek, and other great names.”

And information on what West has been up to…

Since he retired in 2001, he has coached high school basketball in Pennsylvania, college basketball at Duquesne University and Villanova, and in the NBA Development League. Last season, his Rio Grande Valley Vipers won the D-League title.

Topics: Bill Musselman, Doug West, Minnesota Timberwolves

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