Tag: David Lee

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors

Warriors thrash Clippers, look like class of California, contenders


There are no statement games in the first week of November.

But Golden State came just about as close to making one as a team can Wednesday night.

The Warriors shot the ball well — 60 percent from three for the game — and defended well. Golden State looked every bit the contender and the best team in the Pacific Division.

The Clippers, who have fancied themselves contenders, continued their season-long trend (well, just five games but still) of playing disinterested, sloppy ball.

Los Angeles finally paid a price for that malaise — a 121-104 easy win for the Warriors that wasn’t even that close. The Warriors went on a 14-2 run midway through the first quarter and never looked back, leading by 29 early in the third quarter. The Warriors had 65 first half points and 102 after three quarters. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford helped spark a garbage-time run — and the entire fourth quarter was garbage time — to make the score look more respectable, But it wasn’t.

This was an old-school beatdown.

Reading too much into any one game in November is foolish, but there are two things worth taking away here.

First, the Warriors may be legit title contenders. They came into the season considered a team on the fringe of contending (a step behind the Clippers) but Steve Kerr has them still playing strong defense — 90.5 points allowed per 100 possessions so far this season, best in the NBA. Second, they are running smarter, more complex sets that better use the personnel on their roster. The rest was Stephen Curry going 4-of-8 from three, Klay Thompson hitting 3-of-4, and the starting backcourt finishing with 47 points on 31 shots. Curry abused CP3 off the dribble all night.

The Warriors other guys are stepping up, too — Draymond Green started (David Lee came off the bench and tweaked his hamstring again) and finished with 24 points on 13 shots. The result of this is a Top 10 offense so far (again, it’s early).

Teams with top 10 offenses and defenses are title contenders. If the Warriors keep playing like this they are that.

The Clippers are a long way from contending — and Doc Rivers is very frustrated. This is not a team building off last year, it looks like a team starting from scratch. From Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:

The Clippers offense seems to miss Alvin Gentry — now the lead Warriors assistant coach to Kerr — as this season it has been stagnant. The Clippers defensive rotations have been and were again sloppy. But most of all this team is just not playing with any heart, any fire. That’s not on Doc Rivers, that’s on Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. They need to lead.

The Warriors are playing with fire — they lost to the Clippers in the playoffs last year and that lit a fire under this team, one that Kerr is turning into an inferno.

It wasn’t a statement game from Golden State and the Clippers have a lot of time to figure things out.

But right now, Golden State is lightyears ahead of where Los Angeles is. We’ll see if things feel different when these teams meet on Christmas Day.

David Lee hopes to return to the Warriors on Wednesday

David Lee, Jusuf Nurkic, Wilson Chandler
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The Golden State Warriors have been one of the most impressive teams in the Western Conference so far this season, getting off to a 3-0 start. This is despite being without starting power forward David Lee, who strained his left hamstring during the Warriors’ last preseason game. According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Lee hopes to make his season debut on Wednesday, when the Warriors face off against the Los Angeles Clippers:

He had debilitating pain until Saturday, when he first was able to start pushing off the leg and run closer to full speed. If practice goes according to play Monday and Tuesday, he’ll start Wednesday night at Oracle Arena.

Without Lee, the Warriors’ starting lineup has gotten off to slow starts — missing his ability to score and pass off the block. The Warriors have also been beaten 32-19 on the offensive glass in Lee’s absence.

Still, the Warriors want to be cautious with Lee, because hamstring injuries have a tendency to worsen if pushed. As bad as he wants to play, Lee said, “I know this is the third game of 82.”

With Lee out, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has started the smaller Draymond Green at power forward. The addition of Lee back into the rotation will make Golden State more versatile and give them a scorer in the paint. Lee will likely return to the starting lineup, but Kerr could look to play him off the bench and start Green in certain matchups.

David Lee out, Andrew Bogut ill vs. Kings

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

I wanted Steve Kerr – who was leaning toward bringing Andre Iguodala off the bench for Harrison Barnes – to stick with the same starting lineup as last season.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut were just so darn effective last season.

But the new coach won’t even have the option of maintaining that continuity when the Warriors open their season against the Kings tonight.

Rusty Simmons of SFGate:

Draymond Green will start Wednesday night’s season-opener against the Kings as power forward David Lee continues to deal with a left hamstring strain, according to Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Green meshed well with the other starters last year, but if only Golden State had all of them available.

Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:



Well that leaves the Warriors awfully thin up front. A limited Festus Ezeli and Ognjen Kuzmic are probably overmatched.

DeMarcus Cousins should be licking his chops.

67RIEFNS No. 62: Greg Monroe playing out his daring decision

Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic
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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Greg Monroe has played hard for four seasons, becoming a bright spot on a Pistons team that had little reason for optimism before he arrived. He scores inside and rebounds, and his on-ball defense has turned out OK.

Finally, after being stuck on his rookie-scale contract, Monroe had a chance to get paid this summer.

And he passed.

Monroe accepted the $$5,479,934 qualifying offer, making him the best restricted free agent to ever go that route.

Here are the top 50 first-round picks since the NBA instituted the rookie scale for first-round picks, sorted by win shares through their first four seasons, with the total value of their next contract.

  • Dark blue: Signed extension before fourth season
  • Medium blue: Resigned with current team as restricted free agent
  • Light blue: Had offer sheet matched
  • Red: Signed an unmatched offer sheet
  • Green: Signed in Europe
  • Black: Signed qualifying offer


Nobody in the top 50 got as little money as Monroe, who ranked No. 38 in win shares during his first four seasons. Only David Lee – who re-signed with the Knicks on a one-year $7 million contract in 2009 so they could keep open money to chase LeBron James the following year – came close.

In fact, stretching the list further, No. 51 Ben Gordon is the only other player in the top 100 to take the qualifying offer.

Players just don’t turn their first big payday, even if they’d prefer to change teams. Monroe is really going out on a limb to take this deal, acceptingn less money this season and less long-term financial security in order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Like K.J. McDaniels with the 76ers, Monroe could be a trendsetter if this works for him. It’s a big risk, but whether Monroe alters the climate of player-team negotiations for restricted free agents will depend a lot on how well his season goes.

67RIEFNS No. 56: Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving in the playoffs

Cleveland Cavalier's Practice
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The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Kevin Love might be the best player ever to miss the playoffs his first six seasons. The way the Cavaliers were going, Kyrie Irving was on pace to join the discussion.

Obviously, playing for the Cavaliers with LeBron James, Love and Irving will break that trend this season. That, in itself, is a good thing. It’s fun to see the NBA’s stars playing such meaningful games.

But just how much can two players without any postseason experience help in late April and beyond?

Since the NBA adopted its current eight-teams-per-conference playoff format in 1984, 47 teams have reached the playoffs with at least two of its top three players (judged by win shares) lacking postseason experience. Of those 47, just three have reached the conference finals (players without postseason experience marked with asterisk):

  • 1989 Suns (Kevin Johnson*, Tom Chambers, Jeff Hornacek*)
  • 2002 Celtics (Paul Pierce*, Antoine Walker*, Tony Battie*
  • 2007 Jazz (Carlos Boozer*, Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams*)

Those might seem like low odds, but consider: Teams led by players lacking playoff experience usually aren’t that good to begin with. Many just sneak into the playoffs with a low seed.

On a whole, the playoff teams with at least two top players making their postseason debuts actually advanced further than their seed would have projected. Here are all 47 such teams with their expected number of playoff series (gold) and actual number of playoff series (wine):




Click to enlarge

  • 2014 TOR: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan*, Jonas Valanciunas*
  • 2013 GSW: Stephen Curry*, David Lee*, Carl Landry
  • 2012 LAC: Chris Paul, Blake Griffin*, DeAndre Jordan*
  • 2011 NYK: Amar’e Stoudemire, Landry Fields*, Danilo Gallinari*
  • 2011 MEM: Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol*, Mike Conley*
  • 2011 IND: Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts*, Mike Dunleavy*
  • 2010 OKC: Kevin Durant*, Jeff Green*, Russell Westbrook*
  • 2009 POR: Brandon Roy*, LaMarcus Aldridge*, Joel Przybilla
  • 2009 CHI: Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah*, Derrick Rose*
  • 2008 ATL: Josh Childress*, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith*
  • 2007 UTA: Carlos Boozer*, Mehmet Okur, Deron Williams*
  • 2007 TOR: Chris Bosh*, Anthony Parker*, Jose Calderon*
  • 2007 GSW: Andris Biedrins*, Baron Davis, Monta Ellis*
  • 2006 MIL: Michael Redd, Andrew Bogut*, Bobby Simmons*
  • 2006 LAC: Elton Brand*, Sam Cassell, Chris Kaman*
  • 2005 PHI: Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver*, Andre Iguodala*
  • 2005 CHI: Tyson Chandler*, Kirk Hinrich*, Eddy Curry*
  • 2004 MEM: James Posey*, Pau Gasol*, Shane Battier*
  • 2004 HOU: Yao Ming*, Cuttino Mobley, Steve Francis*
  • 2004 DEN: Andre Miller*, Marcus Camby, Carmelo Anthony*
  • 2002 BOS: Paul Pierce*, Antoine Walker*, Tony Battie*
  • 2001 DAL: Dirk Nowitzki*, Michael Finley*, Steve Nash
  • 2000 TOR: Vince Carter*, Tracy McGrady*, Antonio Davis
  • 1999 MIL: Ray Allen*, Glenn Robinson*, Ervin Johnson
  • 1998 CLE: Wesley Person, Zydrunas Ilgauskas*, Brevin Knight*
  • 1997 MIN: Kevin Garnett*, Tom Gugliotta*, Dean Garrett*
  • 1997 LAC: Loy Vaught, Bo Outlaw*, Darrick Martin*
  • 1996 DET: Grant Hill*, Otis Thorpe, Allan Houston*
  • 1994 ORL: Shaquille O’Neal*, Nick Anderson*, Anfernee Hardaway*
  • 1994 GSW: Latrell Sprewell*, Chris Webber*, Billy Owens
  • 1994 DEN: Dikembe Mutombo*, LaPhonso Ellis*, Bryant Stith*
  • 1993 CHH: Larry Johnson*, Alonzo Mourning*, Muggsy Bogues
  • 1992 NJN: Drazen Petrovic, Derrick Coleman*, Mookie Blaylock*
  • 1992 MIA: Glen Rice*, Grant Long*, Rony Seikaly*
  • 1990 SAS: David Robinson*, Terry Cummings, Willie Anderson*
  • 1989 PHO: Kevin Johnson*, Tom Chambers, Jeff Hornacek*
  • 1988 SAS: Alvin Robertson, Johnny Dawkins*, Frank Brickowski*
  • 1988 NYK: Patrick Ewing*, Mark Jackson*, Bill Cartwright
  • 1988 CLE: Mark Price*, Brad Daugherty*, Hot Rod Williams*
  • 1987 IND: Steve Stipanovich*, Vern Fleming*, Wayman Tisdale*
  • 1987 GSW: Sleepy Floyd*, Larry Smith*, Chris Mullin*
  • 1985 HOU: Hakeem Olajuwon*, Rodney McCray*, Ralph Sampson*
  • 1985 CLE: World B. Free, Phil Hubbard*, Roy Hinson*
  • 1985 CHI: Michael Jordan*, Orlando Woolridge*, Steve Johnson*
  • 1984 KCK: Eddie Johnson*, LaSalle Thompson*, Larry Drew*
  • 1984 DET: Bill Laimbeer*, Isiah Thomas*, Kelly Tripucka*
  • 1984 DAL: Rolando Blackman*, Mark Aguirre*, Brad Davis*

Unlike many of those teams, the Cavaliers will actually be very good. Maybe Love’s and Irving’s inability to reach the postseason reveals defects in their games, but more than anything, I think it speaks to how poorly their franchises had built teams around them. With them – and LeBron – now joining forces, that has obviously changed.

Love and Irving will finally reach the playoffs. Once there, there’s no good reason to believe they can’t contribute to the Cavaliers advancing deep.