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Winderman: David Lee? Really?

Feb 11, 2010, 8:20 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for nba_lee_250.jpgEditor’s note: From time to time, Ira Winderman will jump in with
longer analysis of some bigger issues. These “Quick Takes” appeared
previously as stories on NBCSports.com and will now appear within ProBasketballTalk instead.

This had better be one of those rest-of-the-story stories, where we find out after the fact that David Lee received his All-Star replacement berth because Josh Smith was out of cell range, Shaquille O’Neal had previous engagements, Andrew Bogut politely declined, Ray Allen was preparing for a potential trading-deadline relocation and Joakim Noah didn’t have a foot to stand on.

Because if David Lee, for all his impressive (if not somewhat hollow) numbers is an All-Star, then the NBA’s annual classic has severely lowered it standards.

Yes, 20 and 11.4 carries plenty of weight.

But how many opponents game plan with Lee as defensive focus?

Probably not nearly as many as those trying to keep Smith from getting out in transition in Atlanta.

Or those fronting Shaq in the post.

Or those rotating a second defender toward Bogut.

Or meeting Allen at the 3-point line.

Heck, David Lee isn’t even the best David Lee in the East this season. That would be the Bulls’ Noah, who has been slowed only by his foot woes.

Yes, the Hawks might not merit three selections, but Smith remains as egregious an oversight today as the day Al Horford was named a reserve alongside Atlanta teammate Joe Johnson.

And Cleveland still remains with a solitary All-Star, with Shaq having emerged as force this past month as the league-best Cavaliers play with a bare naked backcourt.

As for Bogut, his team is on the move, putting the pressure on Dwyane Wade and the Heat for that final playoff berth in the East.

The Jason Kidd emergency selection in the West made enough sense with its hometown angle, considering, with the latest weather developments, that already being in Dallas is emerging as a prime selection criteria. Heck, if Kidd couldn’t make it, the next call was going to J.J. Barea.

But just like the ridiculously rostered Pro Bowl, where Yeremiah Bell somehow was issued a jersey two weeks ago, if being a hustle player is all it takes to make it to the NBA’s annual showcase, then the talent pool isn’t nearly as deep as previously thought.

It is getting to the point where baseball’s policy of one-player-per-team might as well be adopted.

That way, if Lee, too, had been out of cell range, we then could have witnessed the athletic delight that is Wilson Chandler.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

  1. erick - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    I feel Lee was worthy of an all star but yall need grow the hell up with those racist comments.Yall thinking too hard. I feel Josh Smith deserved it the most bc his play changed the culture in atlanta whereas… you get my point.

  2. larry - Feb 12, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    i believe the column putting down david lee is silly. sure he does not fit the fast, strong, quick equation usually seen for nba guys that usually punctuates the 20/10 club. but so what. it is great to see a kid defy the odds and do well. the game is not a dunk or 3 pointer show-it is about working as a unit and beating teams that have better talent then you do. in my book david lee is a superstar-he has a higher achievement/ability ratio then just about anyone in the league.

  3. ALEX - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    YOU CANNOT BE AN ALL-STAR FOR BEING A HUSTLE PLAYER. The reason he gets 20 and 10, is because after the KNICKS get blown out by half time, he fills up his stats in garbage time.
    Stern needed an NY player represented. BECAUSE JOSH SMITH IS FEARED AMONG PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE. and the Knicks would def trade for him if they had the opportunity, trading DAVID LEE and some of their other scrubs just for SMITH. HORFORD should not have made the team either.
    I was waiting until someone wrote about this disgrace to the league

  4. Kris - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Hey, writer…find a new f-in job, you loser. I don’t even like the Knicks or David Lee in particular…but come on!! Are you really that stupid? His stats are better than everyone you mentioned. I, honestly, can’t believe you got this story printed…and didn’t get fired…yet.

  5. Anonymous - Feb 12, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    go play with your dolls, u don’t knoww sheet
    about sports,get lost loser, you don’t even have
    a tv to watch games, you are a nose digger too,I
    hear they call you dig N smell at your job.

  6. Ben - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Lee is an all star because he has worked very hard to improve his skills and is certainly mostly responsible for the Knicks improvement. Too mant people make the all star game on past laurels ie Shaq, Iverson, etc. Good for Lee.

  7. Nick - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Funny thing is this guy alludes to the fact that Jason Kidd was in Dallas and since the weather is so bad that was an added advantage to picking him. Well Kidd was already out of town on vacation when he got the call for the All Star Game. With preparation like this prior to writing this article, I can see why he said Lee shouldn’t be an All Star. Next time leave the article writing to someone who knows what they are talking about Ira.

  8. Rick Fox - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Steve. You are an idiot. I will not dignify your comments with anything more than that.

    *The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed.*

  9. Josh - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Ira, you clearly have never watched much basketball in your life. Nor do you understand the game, evidently. One can make the argument, David lee has clearly been the best offensive center in the Eastern Conference this year. He averages 20 and 11.4. He is shooting 56% from the field, and if you watched a game, again, you’d know these are mostly jumpers that he has developed. An item, Josh Smith has still yet to grasp. (working on his game) He’s 5th in the NBA in rebounding, and has recorded 30 double-doubles. If you again, watched and understood the game, you’d know this team does not run anywhere near the offense D’antoni constructed in Phoenix, and David Lee produces his offense through hard work and practice, and doesn’t have the benefit of a playmaker creating ANYTHING for him. I’m dumbfounded that anyone would employ you to cover a topic that you so outrageously have no conception for. I can only hope you are a volunteer and are not compensated for doing an absolutely abysmal job. Its comical that you would even Joakim Noah in the same sentence as Lee. Get a clue, and please, quit your day job.

  10. Josh - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Steve, you are really a clown. Watch a game, then you can be free to comment. You clearly are as clueless and hapless as your hero, Ira.

  11. wha-hat? - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    what’s this about an all star basketball game? oh, it’s this weekend? why would anyone care who plays in that game? the NBA is about as exciting as watching paint dry these days. there’s more traveling in the NBA than on American Airlines. I can’t remember the last time I saw a player dribble legally, and they ought to have a free throw contest instead of a slam dunk contest. first one to 9 out of 10 wins. that could take all night. if you can find the game on cable, have fun. wake me when it’s over.

  12. H25 - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    The writer of this story is just trying to be jocular. Everyone knows that white guys can’t play! They can HUSTLE. They can have a high basketball IQ but they can’t really play. Look at Steve Nash or Larry Bird. Mr. Writer believes they get/got by on their smarts without one ounce of athletic talent They don’t have talent. If David Lee can score 20 ppg then this sorry, poor excuse for a writer believes anyone can do it. Oh you are so right Mister Writer. So right. Hopefully this will ingratiate you to whomever you are trying to appease. Good thing we have the internet or else we never get these pearls of wisdom.

  13. vince - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Hey Alex–
    You say that Lee gets his stats late in the game that is “garbage time”? Are you a freekin idiot? The truth is that he generally gets his points and rebound very very early in the game.The other nite in the loss to Sacramento He had 18point, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists before halftime but in the 2nd half after Robinson, Duhon,Harrison,(man this Harrison is real real black hole,never ever returns a ball),Chambers, and (3 point Jeffries)got thru w/ the game nothing but nothing was left to play.BTW: LEE ended thw game w/21 points and 10 rebounds and the Knicks lost the game after having a 15 point lead in the 4th qtr. Lee I think took only 2 or 3 shots in the whole half.

  14. Chris - Feb 12, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    David Lee is far from a scrub! He earns every point and rebound every night by hustling and working hard. He even has developed a better outside game than his previous seasons. By doing so he has made it more difficult on the opposing big men because they now have to respect his outside shot. Playing out on David Lee helps open up the paint area and allows his team to score easy buckets. Let’s not forget David Lee is playing out of position. He is not a center and still manages to do a great job at the position. He is no Dwight Howard by any means but David Lee should definitely be an Allstar.
    Also on a side note, the last time he was invovled in Allstar weekend he was playing in the Rookie-Sophmore game and lit it up! I don’t have the numbers off the top of my head but if memory serves me correct he went something like 14-14 from the field and had about 30 points.

  15. Steve NY - Feb 12, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Let’s just say he is more deserving than the guy he is replacing Allen Iverson.
    What’s so terrible with a NY team being represented? It’s been a long time since the Knicks have had a good player who could even be considered. The league is well served by having the NY market interested in the NBA.

  16. Woodsidehouse - Feb 12, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    The Saints won the Superbowl that is why hell is freezing over right now.

  17. Lou - Feb 12, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Agree, Alan, except for Smith, perhaps the most imporved player in the league this season. I have no problem with Lee.

  18. smoooojazzz - Feb 12, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    David Lee does not deserve the All Star slot??? He is the BEST player playing out of position in the NBA. Come on now, where have you been? Certainly you have’nt been watching the New York Knicks games. He deserves to be in the All Star game, after all he IS an All Star…period! Nice going Mr David Lee, keep up the good work! And once again, Mr Lee YOU ARE AN ALL STAR…hands down! Now go ahead and SHOW the knuckleheads what you are made of.

  19. smooojazzz - Feb 12, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    and also…you are a New York Knick…now Represent NY…ya heard!!!

  20. Steve - Feb 12, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    Wow … pick the homer new yorker posts above … lol. I love all the posts that point out his deficiencies but then back it up with “but he is a good guy” or “but he tries really hard”. Come on people, the All-Star game isn’t a merit badge, it is supposed to reward the best of the best, and Lee is far from that.
    Lee is the type of player you like to have on your team if you are trying to contend because he is pure hustle … but come on, if he is more than your fourth best playwer you ain’t winning sh!t. He is Mark Madesn on steroids, nothing more and this shouldn’t get you in the all star game. In an expansion draft who are teams likely to pick out of Lee, Smith and Bogut? It sure ain’t Lee.
    Also loving the “Nash wasn’t knocked for his play when playing for D’antoni” … look at his production since D’Antoni left and show me the drop off.
    It is a joke that he is there, but I am glad it gives people in the 5 boroughs something to do other than kill each other.

  21. smooojazzz - Feb 12, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    steve sounds like you are far from NYC, stay where you are…because us NYer’s know All Star Status when we see it.
    ps: you from mississippi? nothing personal , jus asking…stay well.

  22. Steve - Feb 12, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    Nah, mid-west my friend, the home of real basketball not Rucker Junk… lol that was just to get a bite … have been to the tourney every year for the past ten and love it.
    On Lee though, come on man, take of the goggles. The guy plays hard, works hard, is getting better production than his talent should allow …. this is all great. But he just isn’t that talented! Worst all star since Magloire.

  23. smooojazzz - Feb 12, 2010 at 11:01 PM

    “it gives people in the 5 boroughs something to do other than kill each other”.
    **die-hard NEW YORKER i am steve…but that comment, come on bro…that was’nt basketball,that was just “i hate NY type stuff” please keep that in your neck of the woods(mid-west)…thank you.

  24. Zach - Feb 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    1) This writer is garbage.
    2) David Lee is more deserving than Smith or Bogut, since he excels so much at scoring and rebounding.
    3) This writer sucks.

  25. Joe - Feb 14, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Wait…If you’re not game planning for Lee when you play the Knicks, who the hell are you game planning for????? Do you even watch NBA games? Ray Allen? Shaq? Is this the 2002 All-Star game? Do you focus on either of those two instead of Paul Pierce and Lebron?
    I’m not a Knicks fan, but geez…are they just letting anyone write these columns??? Awful stuff.

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