Steinmetz: Lee Underperforming, Making Impact

November 7, 2010, 7:18 pm
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OAKLAND -- Right about now, David Lee's got to love that he's not playing in New York. The Warriors acquired him in a sign-and-trade in the offseason to a contract worth 80 million over six years, and what have they gotten from Lee so far?Put it this way: Not quite as much as they expected.Lee has struggled at the offensive end through the first five games of the season, averaging only 12.2 points per game on 39.7 percent shooting. That would likely be a problem in New York, where fans and media would be more than whispering that Lee might be a tad overpaid.But here, in the Bay Area, there's none of that. And there's one simple reason why: The Warriors are 4-1.Lee, who averaged 20 points per game last year, might not be playing up to his capability, but the Warriors are. More important, Lee is finding a way to help Golden State win even though he's not scoring as much as everyone thought he would.Lee is doing more of his fair share of rebounding, getting 12.2 per game. That's a nice number as is, but it's even better when you consider Lee is playing only 33 minutes per game this year.He's got a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, and there's no doubt he's emerging as one of the leaders on the team. No, Lee's offense hasn't yet come around. But admit it, Warriors fans, it's nice to have a guy who can help you when he's not scoring.Lee entered this season shooting 55 percent from the field for his career. So, he's not going to stay at 39 percent all season. Then again, he's not likely to reach 55 percent with the Warriors, if for no other reason than he's playing power forward and not center.Lee has less of an advantage at the offensive end against quicker, more agile fours than he does against big, lumbering fives. That's an adjustment Lee will have to continue to make.In the meantime, if the Warriors keep winning while Lee makes the adjustment, who really cares what his numbers look like?