Apr 7, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward David Lee (10) pulls down a rebound next to Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors (15) in the third quarter at ORACLE arena. The Jazz defeated the Warriors 97-90. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Should the Golden State Warriors Consider Using David Lee As a Sixth Man?

The addition of small forward Andre Iguodala to the Golden State Warriors has been one of the most noteworthy free-agent signings of the past month. Iguodala, a lockdown defender and wing scorer, allows the Dubs to experiment with countless more lineups than they otherwise would have been able to try if they didn’t pick up Iguodala.

One of the possible decisions head coach Mark Jackson and his staff must make is whether they should consider using David Lee as the sixth man off the bench. Hypothetically, if Lee comes off the bench next season, then Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Iguodala and Andrew Bogut would be the starting five.

But for the Dubs to be successful next season, Lee should start over Barnes. Last season, the Warriors were plus-2.3 with Lee on the floor. With Lee of the floor, in about 12 minutes per game, they were minus-1.3.

In Warriors wins, when they scored between 70-79 points, Lee was plus-24.0. Whereas in up-tempo, offense-dominant games where the Dubs won by scoring more than 100 points, Lee was less effective, being only plus-6.5 while on the floor.

With Lee on the floor, the Warriors were drastically more productive offensively. They shot a higher percentage from three-point range with him above the three point arc, 40.9 percent, than with him off, 34 percent. In the right corner, the Warriors shot 51.3 percent with him on the court, but only 37.1 with him off. The Warriors also shot a higher percentage in the restricted area with him on the floor as well–62.3 percent with him on verses 54.9 with him off the floor.

With the departures of Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry via free agency, Lee will be relied upon to provide even more offensive production. Curry, Thompson and Barnes should all ideally improve their offensive repertoire, and Iguodala will bring some added production, but Lee is a far more consistent and prolific offense player than Iggy, and Lee’s offense will be needed, especially when Curry and Thompson struggle from behind the arc.

Bringing Lee of the bench restricts his minutes, and in turn, his production. Lee makes his money on the offense end with his consistent play, and bringing him off the bench would be a major mistake.

Tags: David Lee Golden State Warriors NBA Free Agency

  • Alec Safreno

    I think it’s a mistake to rely on Lee offensively. People are assuming the acquisition of Andre Iguodala will stunt the grow of Harrision Barnes. I’m under the belief that its the reliance of David Lee that will be the factor that decides whether Harrison can reach his full potential.

    Besides the obvious defensive deficiencies that David Lee has, my focus is going to be on how he impacts the offensive end. I feel like David Lee is Curry’s get out jail free card. He relies on David Lee in the pick and roll too heavily, passing to him as the easy out instead of using his skills to create for himself and others. When David Lee went down in the playoffs, Curry exploded, forced with the burden of leading his past the Nuggets on his own. And he stepped up, becoming an elite scorer and facilitator. I don’t think it was coincidence that Curry’s career night at the Garden happened when David Lee didn’t play.

    Curry over relying on David Lee isn’t something you can really quantify, but the subject of pick and rolls with David Lee expose another major flaw in his game. His picks. He doesn’t set solid screens that frees Curry from the defender, more inclined to slip them automatically for the pick and pop. He’s got a great 18-footer but between that or a lay-up or a 3-pointer, the 18 footer is the worse shot to take. Bogut and even Festus set far better screens, making contact with the defender giving Curry the daylight he needs to knock down or find the lane for his scoop shots.

    The Warrior’s have a tendency to go to David Lee in the post. They’ll start games with this play and because of David Lee’s versatility with his left or right hand, he can score. That’s great. Except the Warriors don’t need to rely on that. Harrison Barnes will be the better scorer. In the long run,

    • Ben Pickman

      Alec, for starters thank you for your well thought out comment. I think your first point about David Lee hunting Barnes’ growth is very valid. I think Barnes is a very quality player. And one that can grow and develop into a potential all-star.

      Lee is a bit overrated and is a liability defensively. Lee is Mr. Consistent and is a great fall back for the Warriors offense, but your right that he should not be there first option.

      I think that it is a good strategy when the Dubs start games going to Lee because he is consistent and a quality scorer in the post. He is a great option to open games because of his efficiency and consistency.

      Both Curry and Thompson will have off nights and struggle from the three occasionally and thats when Lee’s game becomes so important.