Power forward David Lee is a sensational offensive machine for the Golden State Warriors who makes players around him better. However, did the Warriors make the wrong move by not dealing him at the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline?
Lee is averaging 18.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 37.3 minutes per game this season while shooting 51.4 percent from the field. These numbers should not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed Lee’s career because he has an incredible offensive game.
This is not what concerns Golden State, since he will be a force that opposing Western Conference teams will have to take into account when playing the Warriors in the postseason.
What should be a concern for the team is his defense. Lee is not known as a defensive power forward and even the addition of center Andrew Bogut, who is known more for his defense then his ability to score points, does not appear able to help the 29-year old.
When Lee is on the court with Bogut, Golden State allows a true shooting percentage of 56.1. This is not what the organization had in mind when they traded Monta Ellis away last season. Ironically, the true shooting percentage improves to 52.6 when Lee leads the defense with Bogut on the bench.
Golden State will not think twice about taking Lee out of the game if he is unable to prevent opposing big men to score in the playoffs. As good as he is on offense, he is simply a liability on defense that could cost the team critical games.
The Warriors could have traded Lee at the deadline and received quite a bit for him in return considering how well he is playing this season. This is something the team should have thought about, since it is not very likely they will be able to go far into the postseason with their current roster.
Sure, Stephen Curry and Lee play off of each other well and that alone could make teams nervous. However, it is unknown how long this will last, as Golden State will be forced to adjust if the current squad is unable to get the job done.
I like the bold move of sticking to their guns and not giving up Lee in a trade even though several teams were interested. Management clearly wants to see this season play out with the pieces they have, which is good because the Warriors could indeed surprise people.
Unfortunately, the chances of that are slim, considering the Western Conference is loaded with talented big men that will destroy Lee when it matters most.