Are Warriors better without David Lee?

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 5:06 pm
Column from our favorite writer (Tim Kawakami).

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami/2 ... -its-true/

It’s quantifiable, it’s palpable and it’s only deniable if you view all things through the prism of David Lee’s All-Star reputation.

It’s a real thing, though: The Warriors are a more dangerous playoff team without Lee than they ever were when he was healthy.
OK, let me also point out that Lee was absolutely necessary during the regular season when Andrew Bogut was out or limited and the team’s younger players were playing young.


The Warriors don’t win 47 games without him, his work ethic, his ability to pile up double-digit rebounds and points (the much-publicized “double-double”) and his true vocal leadership.

But at this advanced stage of Warriors activity—tied 1-1 with the Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals—there just isn’t much doubt that Lee’s torn hip-flexor in Game 1 of the first round hasn’t hurt them.

It freed the Warriors to be more of who they truly should be, actually.

They’re faster, more flexible, more aggressive, tougher, more balanced, better on defense and now they’re built around a powerful three-piece axis:

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut, a straight line of influence, and just ask the San Antonio Spurs how imposing that is.

Before I get into the specific reasons, a few statistics on this issue:

* The Warriors are 5-2 in these playoffs when Lee plays less than 2 minutes in the playoffs, and 0-1 when he plays more than 2 minutes. (He had the short cameo in Game 6 against Denver.)

Small-sample size, yes, but the entire playoffs are small-sample sizes and that’s how you decide champions.

* Lee is credited for being their rebounding force and offensive maestro, yet mostly without him the Warriors are have the second-best field-goal percentage (behind Miami) and third-best rebound—percentage in this
postseason.
All this raises issues, of course, about the logic of keeping Lee into the future, but we’ll all deal with that once this playoff run is over.

As it stands, Lee is co-owner Joe Lacob’s hand-picked favorite, one of coach Mark Jackson’s untouchables, owed $44.4 million over the next three seasons, and beloved by much of the Warriors’ fan base.

He’ll be tough to trade, if ever the Warriors could bring themselves to try.

But here are five reasons the Warriors matched up better against Denver and are currently bedeviling the Spurs without their sole All-Star:
1. Double-doubles just aren’t as valuable as so many Warriors fans—and Warriors officials—think they are.
Lee led the league with 56 of them this season. And that meant… what?

Bogut has only two double-doubles in eight playoff games and do you think he hasn’t been valuable enough?

Value is about two-way team efficiency, not individual stat categories, and without Lee, the Warriors are operating at their highest level, on both offense and defense, possibly since the mid-1970s.

2. The Warriors’ defense is more athletic without Lee, who is a poor individual defender and a slow help defender.
Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green were far better suited to chase Denver’s quick forwards and those two plus Carl Landry match-up well with San Antonio’s assortment.
The new forward-rotation covers more ground, switches better and attacks opponent penetration much more nimbly.

3. Bogut is better and plays more freely without Lee. Now he owns the lane, period.
Bogut can deal with Tim Duncan one-on-one and the offense runs more smoothly when Bogut isn’t shunted over to the weak side to put Lee on the ball side.

4. The extra shots in Lee’s absence have gone to Thompson and Curry, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Think of Allen Iverson, Monta Ellis, Amare Stoudemire, Rudy Gay… high-volume shooters get stats that their teammates often can replicate at a more efficient rate with better ball movement.

Now, the Warriors are thoroughly a three-point shooting team–they’re very good at it; they can blow teams away with it; and they don’t need Lee for it.

5. Lee’s greatest value is as a pick-and-roll partner with Curry, but Curry has elevated has game so high that he now can play that game with anybody the Warriors choose.

Really, the Warriors have moved beyond a dependence on Lee, a good thing.
Before the playoffs started, they were 3-18 over the last three seasons when Lee wasn’t in the lineup.



But there were a lot of reasons for that, mainly that the Warriors weren’t very good for a very long time.

They’re better now, and they’re proving that they went about as far as they could go with Lee as a centerpiece.

He’s not a centerpiece now, and they haven’t come close to hitting their playoff ceiling yet.
From "we believe", to "we belong", to "we gon beatcho ass!"

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 5:25 pm
Can we find someone who can score 10-12ppg, hit a mid range, significantly better on defense, and is cheaper? That's the question right now. Hell, there's an avenue where we can unload him for a prospect with a low salary to gain financial relief to re-sign Jack and Landry.

Here's one thing I know. There was a school of thought that Michael Westbrook was holding Durant back. I admit that I was one of those people who believed that as well. I'm not saying that I believed that Lee was holding Curry back from his fullest potential, but unlike Westbrook, Lee's absence has not hurt us at all.

And that's all I'm going to say. No more and no less; that his absence hasn't hurt us thus far. Kawakami brings up a good point too. There's no way we could've won 47 games without Lee and the absence of Bogut. So, in that regard, he has helped us. I don't want to wager our success on Bogut's health next season, but if he does happen to stay injury-free next year, you really start to think about whether or not if we could flip Lee for another star, prospect, or cap space.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 5:42 pm
Just gonna throw some names out there.

Greg Monroe
Anderson Varejao
Brandon Bass
Nikola Vucevic
Jeff Green
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 7:13 pm
Hmmm interesting. Lee is an asset that is the most important thing first, he has value in the league, yes, value to this team yes. In the cut-throat world of nba transaction am sure there is cap space we can pull off by making a move concerning Lee. And when I say cap space am not saying getting rid of Lee for nothing, am talking getting someone back with value, and maybe some picks. Not this draft, but next years draft will have some players.

The way Curry is playing you just build around him (obviously). Don't know if a sign and trade with Josh Smith, or maybe with which ever team he signs with we could pull a trade to get him. Reason, looks like we have enough scores, enough skilled players, why not get a defensive 4, with some offensive game.

Or go the other route get another shooter say someone like Ersan Ilyasova who is fraction the cost , including some draft picks from the Bucks.

Or maybe Klove from Minnie, who has a similar game to Lee, although I think he is a bit more skilled.

I am just thinking out loud here I am a David Lee fan, plus his work ethic, the whole comradery with the team. I am 70% percent keep Lee, and 30% debating how would we look without him.

Damn Tim K, always trying to start drama. lol.
Thinking out loud again keep Lee. With Lee down Barnes, Green, elevated their game, we can also find room for Lee and still win he is not a selfish player, plus he obvioulsy rebounds well and does all the little things the right way.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 7:26 pm
Also to add, yes we are winning without Lee, no reason to think we can keep winning once he gets back.

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:11 pm
8th ave wrote:Can we find someone who can score 10-12ppg, hit a mid range, significantly better on defense, and is cheaper? That's the question right now. Hell, there's an avenue where we can unload him for a prospect with a low salary to gain financial relief to re-sign Jack and Landry.

Here's one thing I know. There was a school of thought that Michael Westbrook was holding Durant back. I admit that I was one of those people who believed that as well. I'm not saying that I believed that Lee was holding Curry back from his fullest potential, but unlike Westbrook, Lee's absence has not hurt us at all.

And that's all I'm going to say. No more and no less; that his absence hasn't hurt us thus far. Kawakami brings up a good point too. There's no way we could've won 47 games without Lee and the absence of Bogut. So, in that regard, he has helped us. I don't want to wager our success on Bogut's health next season, but if he does happen to stay injury-free next year, you really start to think about whether or not if we could flip Lee for another star, prospect, or cap space.


I know you meant to say Russell Westbrook, caught me off guard though. lol.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:31 pm
I like PER, as far as measuring players' value. David Lee was a 19.23 this year, which was second behind Curry on our team. He's more than just a defensive liability. He's a top 5 power forward, as far as offense. And he rebounds his spot well, despite allowing his opposite number to get big boards too. He doesn't whine about playing center (like most 6'9" guys with offensive skill - Bosh, Stoudamire, Boozer, ZBo, Odom, etc).

He's also a first-rate vocal leader. He plays through injuries, he works his ass off, he comes to camp early, he hustles every play... Essentially, he's a terrific example for our youngsters. The team has adopted his attitude and I, for one, absolutely love it. While I have no problem acknowledging Mark Jackson as the primary method for developing our youth, it's worth noting that several of our young guns have reached/surpassed their potential early while the majority of our youngsters prior to the addition of Lee underachieved with poor role models leading our locker room. Is there a correlation? Totally. Is it all because of Lee? It's tough to say; even tougher to prove. But it'd say it's worth noting.

In my opinion, nobody on this team (save for - now - Curry) is untradeable. So we can talk about Lee.

But what do we want for Lee? In my opinion, it's either an upgrade (like Kevin Love, where we'd also surrender a nice young piece, draft picks, and expirers) or I want a starting 4 (like the ones you mentioned) with a stud prospect... meaning, if we trade Lee to a team like the Celtics, I want Jeff Green and maybe Avery Bradley. If we trade Lee for Varejao, I'd want Dion Waiters in the deal somehow. If we deal for Vucevic, I'd want Harkless.

I don't want to downgrade Lee for a guy like Varejao or Bass just because the team is winning without him. There's no reason to make a trade just to make a trade.

And, to me, the absolute most important thing to remember is this: Let's not get washed up in the hype at the moment, because Andrew Bogut is playing a lot of minutes and I'm not convinced we'll get 50 games out of him next year. Gimmie another year to evaluate Bogut and then let's talk about a Lee trade. Cause, without Bogut, Lee is not NEARLY as expendable.

If we get 70+ games of Bogut next year, let's reopen this topic.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 8:47 pm
Kawakami has hated the D Lee trade since it's inception so no surprise here. It really irks him that D Lee made the all star team and that he's been a leader for this team.
Now is a perfect opportunity for him to marginalize D Lee. Other teams have tried to match W's small ball -- so D Lee's replacements haven't even been tested vs legitmate PF's. I don't know
what it is about making the playoffs that makes people want to ship out the players that got them to that point.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 9:46 pm
Great point, rocky.

Kawakami is Lee's nemesis. He absolutely HATES that Lee has proven him wrong in almost EVERY concievable way. Kawakami called Lee the best player on a bad team. Bam, the team is legit and good now. He said Lee wasn't a real all-star and scoffed at Stern appointing him on the team as an injury replacement. Aaaand, suck it, Tim. Lee made the squad again. Said Lee's numbers were hollow and inflated... obviously false. He said Lee would never live up to his contract... which is total crap. Lee was a steal this year for $13 million. Find me another PF that played 80 games, the all-star team, led the league in double-doubles & 20-10 games, and made only $13 million. Guys who traditionally have led the league in 20-10 games (Duncan, Shaq, LeBron, etc) all make $20 million a year.

It's why Tim will not let Lee's defense go.

It's the ONE thing Lee hasn't stuffed in his mouth since coming here. I can't imagine the about-face Timmy would pull if Lee became a decent defensive player. He'd probably be his typical, cranky douche-bag self and find something else to bitch about.

God, I hate Tim Kawakami. He was JUST like this in 2007. Hate, hate, hate all friggin year long... and then the playoffs hit and suddenly he's a huge homer, like he was on-board the whole time.

Anybody remember Tim lambasting the Warriors after Curry's extension?? Talking about how they could have acquired a "comparable guard like Jru Holiday or Brandon Jennings" for less money?! AAAAHAHAHA, what a tool.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:08 pm
I found an article written by someone at trapped in golden state.

http://www.trappedingoldenstate.com/201 ... r-san.html
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:12 pm
Link = dead, BF
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 10:31 pm
http://www.trappedingoldenstate.com/201 ... r-san.html

Fixed it.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 11:08 pm
Read the first couple of paragraphs... Why is this article significant?
From "we believe", to "we belong", to "we gon beatcho ass!"

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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 11:39 pm
32's last sentence in his post.
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PostPosted: Thu May 09, 2013 11:47 pm
Wait wut?
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