Steinmetz: Lee Underperforming, Making Impact


Steinmetz: Lee Underperforming, Making Impact


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?

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

Kerr clarifies Cousins' lack of NBA All-Star Game minutes

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that the limited minutes allotted to former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star Game Sunday was unrelated to a pending trade.

Cousins played only two minutes -- the shortest stint by any All-Star since Connie Hawkins in 1971 -- because that was the big man’s wish.

“I asked every guy before the game started how much they wanted to play,” said Kerr, who coached the Western Conference All-Stars for the second time in three seasons. “He told me he wanted to play two minutes. He was serious. He said he was banged up. It had nothing to do with (a trade).”

After six-plus seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was traded to New Orleans shortly after the All-Star Game, with the official announcement coming Monday.

Kerr initially thought Cousins was requesting to be limited to two minutes per half. When Kerr and assistant coach Mike Brown conveyed that plan, Cousins was quick to clarify.

“He said, ‘No, no: two minutes total,’” Kerr recalled.

When Kerr pointed out that Cousins actually played two minutes, 24 seconds, the newest Pelican flashed a sense of humor.

“I went over? By 24 seconds?” Cousins said. “That should be a fine for you, coach.”

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

Warriors big men Pachulia, West close to return

OAKLAND -- The Warriors reconvened Wednesday and received good news, going through a light scrimmage that for the first time in weeks included centers Zaza Pachulia and David West.

The better news for the Warriors is that both were upgraded to questionable and could return as soon as Thursday night, when they face the Clippers at Oracle Arena.

“I would say there’s a good chance both of them would play tomorrow,” coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see.”

Pachulia has missed the last eight games after straining his right rotator cuff on Jan. 29 at Portland.

“The pain is gone,” Pachulia told “I can’t say I’ll be cleared, but there is no more pain.”

Pachulia is expected to reclaim his starting role despite Kerr’s acknowledging that JaVale McGee has been “fantastic” while starting the last eight games.

“I haven’t decided yet,” Kerr said. “I’ve got to make that decision. I want to make sure first that (Pachulia) is healthy. And it depends, too, on what happens with David. Is David healthy? Are they both playing? There’s kind of a domino effect on all of this stuff.

“I would anticipate that, ultimately, Zaza will be back starting. I liked that whole rotation. JaVale has helped us dramatically, and he’ll be playing a role. It’s a center-by-committee situation. But right away, we’ll see how we play it.”

West has missed the last 14 games with a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb, sustained Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City.

West was to undergo an X-ray late Wednesday, after which it was anticipated he would receive a clean slate.

The only players that did not scrimmage are All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. All four were given an extra day off in the wake of their participation in All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

“Just being in New Orleans for those four days, there’s no rest whatsoever,” Kerr said. “Those are the guys who played the most minutes. The All-Star break is such a great time to recharge.”