One of the biggest talking points for the Warriors this offseason was the future of David Lee. Lee had been a starter for the Warriors but lost his starting job when he got hurt. Since then, he had been riding the bench and even some games not even suit up. With $15 million owed to him next season, the Warriors knew they had to move him.
What Lee did this season was so professional. He didn’t complain about his demotion and played when he was called. He was a great mentor to the younger players and with his experience, he had a lot of wisdom to share. Even though he was here during the dark years, he knew that winning was more important than his personal gain. So he took the backseat this season. And he was vital to the Warriors’ championship run by playing some very important minutes.
I never was a huge fan of Lee when he joined the Warriors. I knew he would put up pretty good numbers but his addition was not enough to get the team over the hump. His stats would be just filler to a team that still needed a lot of help. Sure, he was All-Star material but still, it wasn’t enough.
I liked that he was ambidextrous and that he had a decent jumper, but his defense wasn’t the best. I was hopeful that the Warriors would add some pieces his way and make the team better. They did eventually with their draft picks and soon enough, Lee could contribute. Lee was paid as if he was the star on the team but he wasn’t. He was a great asset in building the Warriors though. He was essential the team’s first playoff appearance under Mark Jackson and it was with his help did the Warriors get a taste of consistent success.
His demotion was something I didn’t see coming but it only allowed the rest of the young core to grow — especially Draymond Green. At the time of Lee joining the Warriors, he was really just a big name to get the team some attention. By the time of his departure, he was merely an afterthought on a roster so deep. Yet I still can’t think that Lee’s contributions to the team was so essential in those early years. Just that consistency helped the new young draft picks grow.
I hope he does well in Boston. He was good here. He wasn’t great but I don’t think the foundation to the championship would have been this great if it were not for him. Somehow, it all worked out.