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David Lee Refuses to Sit Out Despite Another Lost Season

Now’s about the time you’d expect a sore knee to crop up for Warriors forward David Lee.

The seventh-year veteran came to the Warriors hoping his days of meaningless end-of-season basketball were over. Having spent five years playing out the string in New York, and having his postseason hopes dashed last year, Lee finds himself once again with nothing tangible to play for.

What’s more, two of the starters he’d grown used to playing with are now in Milwaukee, another is on the shelf with ankle problems, and the big man he’s longed to play alongside is out until next year. Who could blame Lee for wanting to shut it down, too?

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Well, he doesn’t.

“At this point,” Lee said after Tuesday’s shootaround, “it’s about continuing to demand respect by playing hard night in and night out.”

Instead of being fed up with having to do it again, Lee said past experience has helped him to cope. Rather than being inspired by the pursuit of playoffs, Lee is driven to protect his reputation. Rather than throw in the towel until next year, Lee said he’d rather set the tone for next year by finishing hard.

This is what Lee does.

“I was always known inNew Yorkbecause of situations like this where you had to finish out the year strong,” Lee said. “I’d come out and continue to play hard and do my job and be known as a pro and a guy with professionalism. That’s what I want to continue to do here and continue that reputation.”

On top of once again being out of the playoff hunt, Lee is – once again – being forced to play out of position. With Ekpe Udoh gone, center Andris Biedrins out with a strained groin, Lee becomes the starting center. He’ll have to bang withNew Orleans’ Chris Kaman tonight, probablyHouston’s Samuel Dalembert tomorrow.

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Of course, Lee is making more than $11 million this year. Perhaps, fans aren’t giving him a cookie for not coming up with a sudden back stiffness. But in a league where players are known for being unhappy, Lee refuses to take that route.

And don’t feel sorry for him, he said.

“We’ve got to make up for it with hustle,” Lee said. “That’s all you can really do. We’re certainly not going to give up. We’ve got to play 23 games either way. Might as well try to go out there and win them and put together the effort this organization deserves.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Bobby G

    Said it before, I don’t think tanking (and getting a #7 draft pick) is as important as building chemistry among our current players and developing our current rookies. A #7 draft pick isn’t going to make or break the 2012-13 season.

    I agree with David… go out there, play hard, try to win with the limited arsenal (no Bogut, no Curry). It probably won’t happen. But I want to see Klay shoot a lot, work on coming off screens, driving. I want to see DWright work on putting the ball on the floor. I want to see Lee improve his drive from the elbow, which will be so much more dangerous with a scoring Center on the floor, and work on his defense. Heck if we get Lee used to defending big centers, going back to defending 4′s next year will seem easy (in most cases).

    As Steinmetz said, figure out what we want to do with Jenkins. Play Tyler a lot too. When we get Hickson, and hopefully we give him a multi-year deal, let him build chemistry with Klay, Dorell, Jenkins.

    There are still things we can do this season to help our playoff chances. The 2013 playoffs, that is.

  • Joe Blow

    @Bobby Hickson to Portland. WTF would want to come play at this fiasco of a franchise? Props to Lee, not worth the contract, but a stand up guy and a pretty darn good player. Just not 11.6M good.

  • Pick n Roll

    Bobby G. @1 You and your opinion are a breath of fresh air in the Warrior blogosphere!

  • Stan

    90 million dollar contract..why would he want to quit? Only a Beidrens or Aaron Rowand just quits. If a player has a chance to play everyday like Lee..now is the best time..pad stats,not get blamed for losing.
    Then you add the guy played last year when the Warriors previous trainer nearly killed Lee by not seeking medical attention while Lee played with another players tooth sunk into his arm. Quit? He should get a purple heart.

  • Gulley

    Why did W’s want to wait until after waivers to get Hickson? Why take that risk? Just the extra little bit of money they’d have to pay?

  • Young

    Good for Lee, good for us. He’s been a good addition.

    Marcus: what happened to Hickson????

    Are we really cursed????

    Gulley, I dont think it was that little. Like $2M!

  • Young

    I could be wrong on that tho…

  • marquee jackson

    The Damn Ws gave up on the season. As a f* season ticket holder, we feel cheated. We paid what we owed and the damn team including the damn front office gave up.

    Thank you to Lee for not giving up but the whole damn organization gave up. Lacob got bood because of this approach to winning. The org promised season ticket holders some damn signed autograph should the team not produce all star or not reach the playoffs. I would have bood plus… had I been at the game.

  • Dubfan

    Man all of these David lee haters need to quit crying about lees salary like as If their paying him look the thing is David lee is a really good player and deserves more credit for all the bs that he has to go through by getting criticized for being over paid the last that I seen he has been pretty damn good against all the other power forwards in the league it’s not his fault he always has to be moved to the center position which he is undersized but at least he puts out a good effort and doesn’t really back down from the challenge of playing center

  • sartre

    I’m amazed at how short-sighted some fans are. Is it so hard to accept short-term failure in order to have a better chance of being competitive next season and possibly beyond? What’s so exciting about watching Monta and Udoh combining with the team as constituted before the trade winning a little over 40% of their games? I admire Lee and the rest of the remaining healthy team members’ professionalism and fight but I have no problem with short-term failure for a decent chance at breaking the endless cycle of dubs mediocrity.

  • Grammar

    Dubfan,

    Use periods.

  • Mick

    Why are the two top teams in league good. Simple they got high picks in good drafts. If they don’t win the lotto and pick Rose and Durant respectively, these teams are 500 ball clubs. How did the Spurs become long term contenders, they won the lottery (twice). Its a superstar league, you need one or two to really compete. Basketball is one of the few sports where you can feed your best player the ball again and again.

    Right now the warriors need to win the lottery or put themselves in position to. THIS IS A NO BRAINER. Otherwise next year were looking at the 11th to 13th pick again. And if all goes well the 8th seed in the playoffs, where we get crushed by the Thunder.

    D. Lee I love your integrity, but lets get real. The future is next year…your locked into an outstanding contract, now lets play for next year. WHICH means tank it now and tank it hard. PLEASE!!!!! Every year the Warriors finish strong and for what….the 11th pick. PLEASE see the big picture.

  • John

    Sartre … The reason they are short-sighted is because they want to be entertained NOW! They don’t want to sacrifice 22 meaningless games for the sake of a more competitive team next year. Screw the future, win now or I’ll “boo”. Seriously though, I agree with you, people need to take the blinders off so they can see that for the first time in over a decade, it’s actually looking like the phrase, “Wait til next year” actually has a lot of truth to it.

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  • moreaufan2

    We didnt need Hickson that bad honestly, he didnt do much up the road in Sac, so what makes you think he would do that much more here? We did a good job with starting tyler last night and giving him sparing minutes, he did a nice job, just needs to work on his post moves!

  • ben brung

    Despite the local love and passion for the team, decent free agents haven’t exactly been beating down the door to join the mediocre W’s. Nor, have any big names expressed interest in signing long-term if traded here.

    I see only 3 ways to potentially end the mediocrity: 1) Overpay free agents; 2) suck your way into a lottery pick; or 3) Make a lower pick that everyone thinks is mediocre or bad (otherwise it wouldn’t be a lower pick) until it turns out to be great.

    I don’t think Warrior fans are in the mood to deal with any of these possibilities without passionate criticism.

    That said, Lacob and his lackeys should really lay-off the hype. These ain’t L.A. where hype makes the world go around. Be as honest as you can about an honest effort to improve and everyone will get through this unscathed.

  • Joe Barely Cares

    A question for all those who complain about David Lee’s salary: Who are the NBA PF’s better than Lee who are making less?…those still on rookie contracts don’t count. Seems to me that $11M is cheap for a guy who averages close to 20 & 10, & is a great, unselfish passer.

  • ben brung

    @ Joe Barely Cares You are right. Lee has his limitations at the PF position but he brings a lot to the table. Because the league has overhyped the superstars, NBA players all look like losers if they don’t immediately transform their losing teams into winners. It really is a ridiculous standard that only a handful of players are capable of meeting. Even then, none of the game’s greatest players has won a championship without some complementary players around them. Russell may have been the most capable of that feat but it never played out that way for him either.

    If David Lee were among the handful he would be making a hell of a lot more money. I can see David Lee and Monta both contributing to championship teams but not on their own or in the wrong combination of players.