He may be Jewish, but Warriors forward David Lee must believe a little bit in Christmas. I mean, he’s been handing out plenty of gifts to fantasy owners all month long.
We appreciate it, David.
To most knowledgeable basketball fans, Lee is known as a very good player. A guy who can rebound, defend and hit from almost anywhere on the court. However, from a fantasy perspective, he is sometimes overlooked. That needs to end, and in a hurry, because in 2013, Lee has just been to darn good to not warrant the fantasy attention he deserves.
Don’t worry, David. I got your back.
An underrated scorer, Lee is no slouch when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. He’s averaging a healthy 15 points per game, but since joining Golden State, is averaging 18.3 points per game. This season, he is floating around that same area, scoring 18.2 points per contest. He’s been incredibly consistent, too, failing to score less than double-digit points in any game all season long. That may not seem like much, but that is pretty impressive, and also signifies safety on a nightly basis for fantasy owners. Lee has also posted 12 games with 20 points or more. And despite point guard Steph Curry being of the pass-first variety, Lee is still seeing plenty of opportunity, as Curry is averaging a healthy 58.1 passes per game, which is the 19th-most in the NBA. Curry is also seeing 17 assist opportunities per game, which is good for the fourth-most in the league. Lee, meanwhile, is seeing a respectable 4.3 close touches per game, which are offensive looks that originate within 12 feet of the basket. He’s getting a decent amount of looks, but he is also getting good ones. It also helps that the Warriors play at such a fast pace, sporting the 5th-highest pace in the league (99.1). The more possessions for the Warriors, the more opportunity for Lee to score points.
Controlling the glass is probably the strongest aspect of Lee’s game. With a career rebounds per game average of 9.8, Lee remains consistent in 2013, hauling in 9.9 boards per contest. He’s been awesome, and has been an absolute double-double machine over the last month. On the year, Lee has 17 double-doubles, which is the sixth-most among all players. However, lately, Lee has posted a double double in 10 straight contests. That’s incredible for fantasy purposes. Using NBA.com’s statistics, it’s pretty obvious why Lee is grabbing about 10 boards per game. On the year, he is seeing a healthy 17.8 rebounding chances per game. Only four players are averaging more opportunities per contest this season (Love, Howard, Jordan, Drummond). He’s been pretty efficient in that regard, too, converting on 57.1 percent of those rebounding chances. 6.6 of his rebounds per game have been uncontested, which means he’s had a pretty simple time bringing down the basketball. He should continue to see plenty of rebounding chances this year, and could very well average a double double when it’s all said and done.
As of right now, Lee is a top-15 fantasy power forward on ESPN’s Player Rater. However, seven of the players ahead of him are eligible in other positions before power forward, so he is truly a top-10 option. On DraftDay scoring, Lee is averaging a strong 33.5 fantasy points per game, which is top-five among power forwards. His value may never be THIS high, but he is very much legit, and deserves more recognition in fantasy circles.
Adam Pfeifer is a fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.