Golden State Warriors: David Lee Looking for a Breakout Year

Scott BurnsCorrespondent IIIAugust 16, 2012

David Lee is eyeing a breakout year with the Warriors.
David Lee is eyeing a breakout year with the Warriors.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

David Lee is going into his third year with the Golden State Warriors, and with the addition of legitimate talent, he is looking to have a breakout season.  Lee wants to show his new teammates why he was an All-Star with the New York Knicks in 2010.

The Golden State Warriors didn’t give up much to acquire the former NBA All-Star in the summer of 2010.  Lee was part of a sign-and-trade agreement with the Knicks that netted Lee a six-year, $80 million contract.  The power forward has performed well, but hasn’t yet had the talent surrounding him.

As the Dubs get ready for the 2012-13 season, there is a lot to be excited about.  Not only did the Dubs upgrade the frontcourt during the end of last season, they drafted well and signed key free agents.

Lee starts this season being paired with the first legitimate center the Dubs have had since Robert Parish in the late '70s, Andrew Bogut.  He also has free-agent pickup Carl Landry backing him up and pushing him for minutes.

Can David Lee improve upon his 20.1 PPG and 9.6 RPG averages?  Yes and No.

Lee was the most reliable option at the post last year on a team that relied upon Andris Biedrins, Mickell Gladness, Mikki Moore and Jeremy Tyler at the center position.  Lee increased his scoring average from 16.5 PPG the year prior to 20.1 PPG as part of that reason.

With Bogut now tying down the center spot, Lee shouldn’t have as many opportunities, but he will definitely have a lot more quality opportunities.  Lee can now move around the floor more often and hit the step-back jumper when he is not crashing the boards.

Lee will be able to show off his strengths as a rebounder and set up a solid pick-and-roll combination with Curry at the point.  Lee can also pass the ball well for a big man, which will open the floor more for the Dubs.

When he gets the ball, Lee will have to maximize his opportunities with Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Bogut all craving the rock from PG Stephen Curry. 

Lee’s biggest tests will come when he has to match up against players like Kevin Love, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin.  

The one thing I can say is that Lee is very consistent.  His numbers in his last five seasons have remained constant with a marginal increase or decrease in each statistical category.

Lee will have another year under Mark Jackson’s defensive system, which will allow Lee to become a more complete player.

Lee’s contract doesn’t expire until after the 2015-16 season, so he is one of the building blocks of this franchise.  It doesn’t hurt to have co-owner Joe Lacob as one of his biggest fans. 

In the end, I expect Lee to get fewer shots and average 18 PPG and10.5 RPG, but he will increase his assists to 2.5 APG.  Lee will be much improved with the increased talent around him, but he won’t be All-Star-worthy yet.

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