Before Stephen Curry became the first Golden State Warriors to start in an All-Star Game in almost 20 years, David Lee broke the franchise’s All-Star drought a year ago when he was named a reserve. With the remaining members of both All-Star rosters set to be announced on Thursday, Lee is hopeful that the Warriors’ 27-18 record might garner him a few extra votes.
“I’d really like to make it. I work hard to help my team win games, so you hope when the coaches vote that they vote for guys that are on winning teams. I’ve been frustrated in the past, when I was in New York especially a couple years where statistically I had the numbers, but was on a losing team and I understood that. So hopefully it’ll work in my favor in the other direction,” said Lee, who then made it clear that getting his third All-Star nod isn’t his main focus.
“It’s not going to be a big disappointment if I don’t make it. I have much bigger goals for the season. But it would be exciting to be there with my teammate, Steph, and to represent the Warriors would be a great honor.”
Even though the Warriors are firmly in the playoff hunt, Lee’s probably not going to get his wish on Thursday. When the starters were announced, only one person on TNT’s studio show had Lee making the Western Conference squad. That was Kenny Smith, who forgot to include James Harden.
“It’s a loaded position when you’re talking about frontline guys and it makes it tough selecting who you think should be there,” said Mark Jackson.
Lee is currently 14th in the West in scoring at 19.2 ppg and 10th in rebounding at 9.9 per game, so he’ll get some consideration. However, if we assume that the reserves are comprised of three guards and four frontcourt guys, it’ll still be tough to make the squad even if the coaches only vote for players on winning teams. LaMarcus Aldridge is proably a shoo-in, and it’ll be tough to beat out Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Serge Ibaka, let alone guys who are shining for less-than-stellar teams like Demarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
Not surprisingly, Jackson thinks Lee has the credentials.
“Talk about us winning 10 in a row, he played incredible basketball during that span. There’s a lot of guys that are in the discussion but he’s certainly a guy that should be there,” Jackson said.
“Let’s not forget, he was in the All-Star team last year, and that was the coaches that voted him in. So they definitely notice what he’s doing on a nightly basis.”
— Lee’s left shoulder is bothering him to the extent where he required a pain-killing injection before Sunday’s game, but he says he’ll fight through it.
“It was tough to get through, but I’ll be ready to go next game again. One thing you know from last year in the playoffs, I pride myself in that if there’s any way to be out there I’ll find a way to be out there. I’ll try to continue that trend,” he said.
— I watched Andrew Bogut pretty closely last night, and he appeared to be stretching out his back on the hardwood for the last 18 minutes of this game. Jackson was asked about his team’s health, and mentioned his center after discussing the treatment Lee received today.
“Boges is banged up a little bit,” said Jackson.
So, is he dealing with back pain?
“No. I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t know specifically, I knew it was the leg. I didn’t want to get specific. I think he’s fine. Treatment today, and a day of rest and recovery, we’ll see tomorrow night.”
Something to pay attention to, for sure. The Warriors did not supply a practice/injury report to the media today.
— Caption this: Harrison Barnes chatting with Jerry West
I was on the other end of the court (this was as close as I could zoom in on my phone without the parties involved looking blurry beyond recognition), but I wish I could’ve heard what West was saying. The two talked for at least five minutes, and I assume West’s goal is to either boost Barnes’ waning confidence or get him to snap out of the funk he’s currently struggling through.
While guys like Lee and Bogut are dealing with some physical problems that require treatment, it looks like Barnes’ problems are related to mental health.
— I asked Jackson about Jordan Crawford, who I thought looked as comfortable running the Warriors’ offense as we’ve seen since he came over in that trade from Boston.
“He had his best game last night with us. Quality minutes, we put the ball in his hands and he either made plays out of pick-and-roll or isolation situations,” said Jackson. I asked the Warriors coach if he was encouraging Crawford to be more of a distributor, and Jackson said that wasn’t the case.
“That doesn’t matter to me. I want him the guy that either scores, passes, or make plays. Just like Steph, let the defense tell you what the best option is. Sometimes it’s going to be shooting, sometimes it’s going to be passing.”