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Mark Jackson unsure whether David Lee will return for start of playoffs

Apr 7, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

David Lee, Rajon Rondo

The Warriors are still winning, but they’re in disarray. Since demoting Brian Scalabrine, Golden State has used five different starting lineups in six games.

That probably has more do with David Lee, whose injury-induced absence coincided with Scalabrine’s demotion and has continued through Darren Erman’s firing.

As everyone has focused on the Warriors’ coaching-staff shakeup, the Warriors have been dealing with the loss of Lee. And it seems they will continue dealing with it for a while.

Golden State coach Mark Jackson in his pregame news conference yesterday, as transcribed by Tim Kawakami of Talking Points:

-Q: Any update on your two big guys–Lee and Bogut?

-JACKSON: David will not play. MRI showed some nerve inflammation, so we’ll go day-to-day. When he’s ready he’ll play.
Bogues will play. So that’s the update on those guys.

-Q: With that MRI result, is there a chance we’re talking about a prolonged length of time for Lee beyond 1 or 2 more games?

-JACKSON: Great question. I don’t have the answer. We certainly miss him, we certainly need him, and he’s a guy that’s doing everything possible to try to get back on the floor. He’s frustrated right now. And rightfully so.

We don’t know how long….

-Q: Maybe not by the start of the playoffs?

-JACKSON: I don’t know that. I haven’t been part of that dialogue. That hasn’t been something we’ve discussed. He’s doing everything and it seemed like he’d be ready and he’s not.

Of each team’s most-used lineup, the Warriors’ has been the best. And to get that unit (offensive rating: 112.2/defensive rating: 97.1/net rating: +15.2), they need Lee – along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut.

It’s not as if the Warriors can’t be successful without that lineup – they’re 4-2 without Lee – but they’re better with their bread and butter. Losing Lee for any portion of the playoffs could prove to be the difference between advancing and not.

Regardless of when Lee returns, I’d like to see more of the frontcourt that started the Warriors’ win over the Jazz yesterday – Iguodala, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. That trio has awesome defensive potential, and in a small sample (94 minutes), it has excelled:

  • Offensive rating: 116.1
  • Defensive rating: 85.7
  • Net rating: +30.4

The Warriors will be better if Lee returns, but they’ll be even better if they can reliably turn to an Iguodala-Green-Bogut frontcourt, too. Hopefully, Golden State make the most of Lee’s absence to strengthen its rotation around him.

  1. ws0001 - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    Not that David Lee would be particularly effective guarding Blake Griffin, but looking at the possibility of Draymond Green, Jermaine O’Neal, and Marreese Speights taking those minutes makes the challenge of winning that series more daunting. It places even more of the offensive burden on Curry and Thompson.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:31 PM

    Hasn’t Mark Jackson said inflammatory/false things about his guys before? Like Bogut hurt himself getting out of bed and wouldn’t be back anytime soon? I don’t put a lot of stock in his media quotes anymore.

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