Even the best of plans can go awry, and with center Andrew Bogut out for much of the season so far, Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson has been forced to play small.
The result is using the 6'7 David Lee on the front line a lot more than Jackson would like to. The question is whether the undersized Lee can hold his own against bigger opponents and still be effective.
The stats show that Lee has never been a fantastic defensive stopper, but he is having his worst year so far through seven games. He has a career low defensive win shares at 0.4 and defensive rating at 99. His offense has been affected as well as he is scoring six fewer points per game than he did last year.
Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area asked Jackson upfront if Lee's defense is hurting the Warriors. Jackson responded that he has faith in his forward, but would also like to see some improvement.
"I wouldn't think that he's hurting us defensively at all. Has he played his best basketball? No. He's played well in spurts. There have been nights when he's been very good. He's got to rebound better. We need him to rebound better. There's no question about that.
"And I'm going to put pressure on him to be that go-to guy, finishing out possessions by rebounding the basketball. I would definitely say he's not playing his best basketball. But I'm not concerned. Because I know how hard he works, he's not pointing the finger at anybody else and he will respond."
Lee is actually rebounding better (albeit very slightly) than he ever has with the Warriors -- averaging 9.9 per game so far. He has also increased his defensive rebounding percentage to 23.1 percent, although his offensive rebounding percentage is down to 5.4 percent on the year.