David Lee put up similar numbers to last season, averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in 69 games. His production waned in the postseason, however, as he scored just 13.9 points and grabbed 9.1 boards in seven games.
What you see is what you’re going to get with Lee.
He is a consistent producer in the starting lineup, and will always be around the range of 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. His offensive game is his strength; Lee is ambidextrous and can score inside with either hand, giving him a distinct advantage because defenders don’t know which hand he will shoot from. He has excellent touch around the basket, and is also able to swallow up rebounds down low.
Lee is also one of the captains of the Warriors. He was brought in to help usher in a new era in the franchise, and has been a huge part of how this team has turned things around in recent years.
However, the negatives surrounding Lee seem to overshadow the positives.
Just search his name up on Twitter or Google News. Lee is constantly being mentioned in trade rumors, in large part due to his albatross of a contract. He has two seasons left on his six-year, $80 million deal, and while he is a solid pro, Lee is not worth that much money. The Warriors are expected to make Lee available on the trade block his offseason in hopes of landing a top-tier player such as Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony.
But why is Lee not worth his contract? Why is he expendable and not considered a valuable part of the future of the Warriors? Because his game is limited to the offensive end, and he is a liability on the defensive side of the ball. This was talked about in excess last season, when Lee was discussed during the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which found that offensive players scored 53 percent of the time within five feet of Lee. That was the third worst percentage among qualifying players in the NBA.
Lee’s defensive struggles showed during the first round of the playoffs this season, when he was out-muscled and outplayed by the Clippers’ Blake Griffin, and it got so bad that the Warriors had to put Draymond Green on Griffin.
Another deficiency that only recently became apparent was that Lee has lost his mid-range game, making him ineffective in the pick-and-pop action that the Warriors use often. Newly hired head coach Steve Kerr stressed that he wanted to bring in a stretch-4 who could shoot from distance, and up until this season, Lee appeared to be a good fit for that description.
But now, his mid-range game has disappeared, and if you tack that on to the reset of the negatives mentioned, it’s not hard to surmise why the trade rumors are buzzing around Lee once again.
Starting the #FullSquad movement that enamored fans for quite a bit: