Sometimes, players can spend their entire careers being below the radar because of things that they can’t always control. Coaching, effort, contracts and selfishness have always been constants in the NBA and consequently many players have been affected by these issues, but not necessarily by their own doing.

The best example of this is occurring at the moment in Sacramento.

Far be it for me to suggest that DeMarcus Cousins is a selfish player, but how else should we characterize how he’s played this season as well as his overall attitude based on his most recent incident with his head coach?

The end result is that rest of the roster has been affected and compromised in some ways.

And one could say that this has occurred with David Lee.

During his time in New York, it’s not so much that the team was dysfunctional — although the franchise certainly was — but rather that the Knicks always had their eyes on the future…

On LeBron James.

Consequently, it didn’t matter one bit that David Lee was stringing along double doubles like an All-Star, he was just some guy playing on a bad team and getting his numbers. In his final season in New York, Lee averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds per game on 54.5 percent field goal shooting.

But his numbers really weren’t all that impressive to most considering that he played in Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced offense that rewarded playing matador defense and also, it was hard to argue that his production led to wins when the Knicks won 29 games that year.

Lee would probably get paid based on his production, but not in NY.

The Knicks were going to finally get their savior in LeBron James and maybe he would bring in Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer. No one knew whom, but James wasn’t coming alone.

The harsh reality was actually that James wasn’t coming at all.

The Knickerbockers signed and traded Lee to Golden State where many assumed he would again put up numbers for a losing team. And well, he did.

The Florida product scored, rebounded, dished the ball every now and then and made more than half of his shots. His defense was subpar, but in fairness he played it how it had been taught to him for the most part. But yet and still, his production was often marginalized because many felt he didn’t swing games, which may have been true in some respects, but things began to change a little last season.

The team still lost more games than it actually won, but the victories often had something to do with Lee. He posted up and flashed his nice hook shot, got himself involved in the pick-and-roll game with both his finishing and passing ability.

Under Mark Jackson, Lee has been a stud, there’s no way around it. He’s rebounded in traffic, played decent positional defense and been a team guy throughout the season as the Warriors are finally winning their fair share of games with the 6’9’’ power forward.

The big man is not only appreciated by Warriors fans, but he is finally getting some much deserved recognition. Over at, Chris Broussard (Insider) picked the brains of coaches, executives and scouts to get their thoughts on Golden State’s starting power forward. Here’s what an opposing coach had to say:

“The knock on David Lee has always been that he can fill up the stat sheet but he’s not going to help you win games. I used to have that perception of him, too, but now he’s answering a lot of his critics because he’s winning games and he’s playing at a high level. He’s scoring, he’s rebounding, he’s defending and he’s making some big plays. He’s definitely not just along for the ride.”

Indeed, throughout his career in Golden State, Lee’s contributions have improved and helped the team get to the point where it is today.

The offense has always been good with Lee on board, even in the Monta Ellis days — which isn’t that far away really, but it seems like years ago — as the team typically scored north of 100 points per 48 minutes when he was on the court. But the real kicker has actually been his improved play defensively.

The progression has been subtle and it’s also helped that he’s played alongside other defensive minded players, but the Warriors have seen their defense get better each season with Lee as a member of the team.

Indeed, look at the strides the Warriors have made in points allowed per 48 minutes and field goal percentage allowed when Lee is on the court in his three seasons in Golden State, stats courtesy of’d advanced stats tool:


Points allowed per 48 mins

FG% allowed










Again, not all of the credit can be attributed to the former Gator; he’s played with different teammates along the way and some of his minutes this season have been alongside Andrew Bogut as well as Festus Ezeli; both of which have done relatively good jobs anchoring the paint at times.

Nonetheless, it’s awfully hard to ignore that on top of producing his customary 20 (19.9 to be exact) and 10, Lee is has evolved as a team defender and is no longer killing the Warriors on defense.

Everything that was once said about him is slowly becoming just that, things that were said in the past.

As the season progresses, it’s going to become awfully hard to keep David Lee off the All-Star team…

Statistical support provided by

One Response

  1. abbsad

    I love this sport and many wished to be a day of professional player in Europe
    David Lee Better Than Advertised
    Sometimes, players can spend their entire careers being below the radar because of things that they can’t always control.
    very nice