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.