Whether you believe a player deserves All-Star consideration based on raw numbers or numbers combined with team success, Golden State’s David Lee fits the bill for both schools of thought.
Lee is one of the hardest working, most unassuming stars in the league with robust per-game averages of 19.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He is the fifth-ranked player in overall efficiency at 24.5 and is shooting 53 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free-throw line. Credit for the Golden State Warriors’ resurgence doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of Lee but it seems like coach Mark Jackson and point guard Stephen Curry are getting the lion’s share of the accolades while Lee just does his thing. The thing is, Lee has been good for a while and has been producing double-doubles like a Bay Area factory. Currently he has 24 of them and leads the NBA in 20-10 games with 16.
While the points and rebounds are Lee’s calling card he is also an unselfish and willing passer. Now we can add capable to the list of adjectives that describe his passing ability. The Warriors have the luxury of establishing him in the post or letting him operate from the elbows and baseline areas to feed teammates on dribble hand offs, running back door, or on ball reversal passes for three point shots. As a result Lee’s 3.7 assists per game are taking the Warriors’ offense to new levels and is a career best in terms of per-game average.
His somewhat newly developed passing prowess comes from the increased touches he receives as a result of Monta Ellis being traded to Milwaukee last Spring. When Ellis was there Lee was the third option after Ellis and Curry. After Ellis was moved and the Warriors lost Curry to an ankle injury it was Lee who dominated the offense and proved that he was capable of such a load. With his alpha male offensive role this season it would stand to reason that his points would rise. Instead, they’re actually slightly down; however, the fact that he has turned his increased touches as an opportunity to feed teammates on scoring opportunities is remarkable and shows a sign of how his varied game has helped Golden State to a surprising start that’s held almost midway through the season.
The West has a talented group of frontcourt players that could make things difficult for Lee to make the All-star team especially if coaches feel one Warrior is enough to represent GSW and opt for Curry. If selected it would be Lee’s second All-Star appearance and first as a member of the Warriors. Lee was a replacement selection in 2010 as a member of the New York Knicks standing in for an injured Allen Iverson. He’s been vocal about being more deserving than others in the West before. Now he’s playing like he deserves another All-Star nod. Lee’s development as a player and team leader has helped to propel the Warriors to playoff contention this season and shouldn’t be overlooked with regards to All-Star consideration. He isn’t just a nice addition to the West’s All-Star roster, he is a necessary one.
What do you think about his chances?
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.