Golden State Warriors Mailbag: Lee, Bogut, O’Neal

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December 22, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward David Lee (10) dribbles the basketball against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Kings 128-108. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Last night in a game against the Sacramento Kings, David Lee returned from his hamstring injury that has kept him out of every game this season except for one, and he came off the bench for the Warriors. Lee finished the night with six points, seven rebounds, and one block in 16 minutes.

Steve Kerr said that he will steadily increase Lee’s minutes, as Lee becomes more comfortable and gets into better game shape. Kerr also said that Lee will continue to come off the bench, and Draymond Green will continue to start at the power forward spot.

Lee is the ultimate professional, and he truly wants what’s best for this team. Lee said he just wants to help his teammates and make the Warriors better, even if that means coming off the bench.

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I believe that Lee could have a significant impact off the bench, and it will benefit the Warriors more to have him as a bench player. His style of play actually translates better as a reserve than a starter. His lack of defensive prowess makes him somewhat of a liability with the starting unit, but off the bench, he will be able to focus more on what he does best: grab rebounds and score.

He will serve as the “sixth man” for the Warriors, even though Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston could be considered sixth men too. Lee will provide the Warriors’ bench with consistency, on the scoring and rebounding side, which is a much-desired quality off the bench. Consistency and scoring is exactly what the Warriors’ bench lacked last season, so Lee will certainly have a positive impact in that regard.

In terms of whose minutes get cut as Lee’s minutes increase, it will most likely be Marreese Speights, as Lee and Speights provide similar skillsets. If the Warriors decide to go small with their bench unit, this could also mean Festus Ezeli could see less minutes. However, with Andrew Bogut out, Ezeli will still see minutes with the starting unit.

While Lee was out, Speights often played as the center of the bench unit. With Lee back, Kerr could also decide to play Lee and Speights at the power forward and center positions off the bench.

Therefore, since the Warriors lacked some frontcourt depth with Lee out, there won’t have to be a significant minute decrease for any Warriors player. There will just be more defined roles for other bench players such as Speights and even wing players such as Justin Holiday, Leandro Barbosa, and Brandon Rush.

Next: Recapping the Warriors' Last 5 Games