Golden State Warriors: Devising A Perfect Offseason Plan

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Option Four

The philosophical antithesis to option two, the Warriors could let Jack and Carl Landry walk and look to trade David Lee.  The Warriors had success in the playoffs without Lee, but this is less about short-term success and more about the future.

Lee is set to make about $44 million over the next three years, an unjustified burden on the already financially bound Warriors. Especially given his salary, Lee may limit the Warriors’ ceiling.

Interior defense and pick-and-roll coverage are vital to a good defense. The laterally slow Lee cowers at the mere mention of a speedy ball handler (or rather, waits five seconds to react and then cowers), and is still confused as to why a disappointed glare is not enough to stop opponents at the rim.

To accommodate for Lee’s defensive shortcomings, the Warriors over-compensate with help defense.  On this Tony Parker-Boris Diaw pick and roll, Thompson comes all the way to the edge of the paint, knowing Lee is likely to be late recovering to Diaw.  The Warriors often help this aggressively on the roll-man side when he is in the pick and roll, often resulting in open corner three-point attempts for the opponent. Lee is one of the worst interior defenders in the NBA.

However, his struggles are not limited to help and pick-and-roll defense. In addition to being a very bad defender in two of the most vital aspects of NBA defense, Lee struggles to defend his own man, allowing 0.94 points per play in isolation, 276th in the league, according to

While teams can generally hide poor perimeter defenders, bad interior defenders are often crippling.  Lee’s contract and defense place a potential ceiling on the Warriors.

With increased playing time for Draymond Green and Barnes, and the potentially trade return at power-forward, the Warriors could replace Lee’s passing and scoring with the valuable spacing he does not provide to keep the Warriors functional offensively. Though letting Lee, Landry and Jack walk may cause the Warriors to decline next season, they would be in a better position for the future.