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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Is Delonte West a Barea/Stevenson blend?

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS – J.J. Barea is gone to Minnesota. DeShawn Stevenson soon will land with a team that will give him more money and minutes than the Mavericks did.

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Ben and Skin spend a segment talking about Delonte West and hot sauce. Seriously.

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Meanwhile, Delonte West gives the Mavs some of the best elements both of those guys offered.

At least, that’s the Mavs’ hope for West, although that seems to be expecting a lot from a man who signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract.

“West is a guy that can give us Barea’s penetration,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He can give us Stevenson’s edginess and toughness.”

Added president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson: “It’s almost kind of the perfect combination of those two guys.”

West will be the Mavs’ primary backup point guard. They hope he can adequately fill Barea’s shoes as a pick-and-roll ballhandler and scoring point guard for the second unit.

West, a starter on a 66-win Cleveland team a few years ago, will also be counted on to occasionally fill Stevenson’s shoes as a heavily tattooed defensive stopper who gets under the skin of opponents.

“You talk about a guy that’s gutsy,” Nelson said. “Without DeShawn, we’re missing a little of that mental, take-no-prisoners toughness. That’s what [West is] all about. He’s a winner. He’s not afraid of any situation.”

West does come with some off-the-court baggage. According to reports, he was arrested in 2009 after police found four weapons -- a Beretta 9mm, a Ruger .357 magnum, a shotgun (in a guitar case) and a Bowie knife -- after pulling over West for negligent driving on a three-wheel motorcycle. West, who has bipolar disorder, pleaded guilty to two charges and was sentenced to home detention and probation.

However, West’s character isn’t a concern for the Mavs. They see him as a gym rat who gives them a needed dose of nastiness.

“Listen, I like milk drinkers, but I don’t like too many milk drinkers,” Carlisle said. “We need guys that are edgy, that bring attitude.”