Lee on All-Star Game: 'I'd really like to make it'
David Lee is averaging 19.2 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season, while shooting 52% from the field. (USATI)
LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 24.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game this season, while shooting 47% from the field. (USATI)
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OAKLAND – With Stephen Curry voted in as a starter, the Warriors are assured of having one representative in the NBA All-Star Game next month in New Orleans.
Is it too much to expect two?
But there is some sentiment for power forward David Lee to join his teammate for the league's showcase weekend. Lee made the Western Conference team last season and there is no question his numbers make him a strong candidate agains this year.
"I'd really like to make it," Lee said after practice Monday. "It's something that I . . . you work hard to help your team win games, so you hope when the coaches vote that they vote for guys who are on winning teams."
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said he believe Lee belongs. The reserves will be announced on Thursday.
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"With the season that he's having offensively, rebounding the basketball, with us winning 10 in a row, he played incredible basketball during that span," Jackson said. "There are a lot of guys in the discussion, but he's certainly a guy that I believe should be there."
The sheer depth of talent in the discussion makes it hard for us to imagine Lee getting the call.
Rosters are limited to 12 players, with maybe four or five big men. The Western Conference starters are Curry and another guard to be named – James Harden is the strongest candidate – joining frontcourt mates Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin. The logical expectation is to add two or three guards and four or five frontcourt players.
Let's look at the top eight power forward/center candidates in alphabetical order: LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Tim Duncan (Spurs), Dwight Howard (Rockets), Serge Ibaka (Thunder), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers) and Lee.
Our criteria consider points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles and team status – and, no, we did not forget the likes of Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Nikola Pekovic and Zach Randolph.
Here, in descending order, are the top eight candidates in our judgment:
8) Jordan -- His team is No. 4 in the conference. He ranks first in rebounds, fourth in blocks, 13th in double doubles but is hurt by being 116th in scoring and the presence of Griffin as a starter.
7) Davis -- His team is 12th. He's first in blocks, ninth in rebounding, 14th in double doubles and 16th in scoring despite missing two weeks. On a better team, he's an automatic selection. Being a member of the host team adds intangible value.
6) Lee -- His team is sixth. A consistent producer, he's ninth in double doubles, 12th in rebounding, 22nd in scoring and 99th in blocks. Though he leads the league in paint points, his overall efficiency ranks fifth among Western Conference power forwards.
5) Cousins -- His team is 14th. He's one of only two players in the top 10 for scoring (10th) and rebounding (fifth). He's tied with Lee in double doubles. No center is having a better season, including Howard.
4) Duncan -- His team is second. He's a future Hall of Famer nearing the end. He also ranks sixth in blocks, 14th in rebounding, 20th in double doubles and 50th in scoring. And, yes, he's Tim Duncan.
3) Ibaka -- His team is first. He's third in blocks, 18th in double doubles, 20th in rebounding and 51st in scoring. His fabulous work in absence of Russell Westbrook merely strengthens his case.
2) Howard -- His team is fifth. He's third in double doubles, fourth in rebounds, ninth in blocks and 28th in scoring. He's defective, yes, but he's an absolute All-Star.
1) Aldridge -- His team is third. He's fourth in double doubles and is the only other player in the top 10 in points and rebounds, therefore a no-doubt inclusion.
The odds are against Lee. Not because his game is off but because the competition is so fierce.
"It's not going to be a big disappointment if I don't make it because I have much bigger goals for this season than anything individual," Lee said. "But it would be exciting to be there along with my teammate Steph, and to represent the Warriors."