There has been a lot of discussion about who the Warriors should start after the Iggy acquisition. The consensus seems to be that Klay Thompson or Harrison Barnes are on their way to the bench. Although Thompson or Barnes as the sixth man is the most likely outcome, the Warriors should bring David Lee off the bench for the following reasons:
1. The future of the team is Curry, Thompson, and Barnes. As such, the team should play them together as much as possible. Bringing either Thompson or Barnes off the bench would not only stunt the threesome’s chemistry but would also limit Thompson or Barnes’ development.
2. Lee as a sixth man = Carl Landry on Steroids. Lee would be an elite sixth man and would probably be the favorite to win sixth man of the year. Playing him against the other team’s bench players would make him less of a liability on defense. The Warriors would be able to run its offense through him because he is a great scorer and a good passer. Lee would be much more effective than either Barnes or Thompson off the bench because he is more consistent than Barnes and Thompson. If the starting lineup had an off night there would be a greater chance that Lee could come in and change the momentum of the game than Barnes or Thompson.
3. Given a small sample size, the Warriors were at its best when playing small ball during the playoffs. Plugging Iggy into the lineup the Warriors used during the playoffs would be a huge upgrade over the lineup with Jack. Iggy is an elite defender, averages about the same amount of assists per game as Jack, and complements Curry and Thompson perfectly. A lineup of Curry-Thompson-Iggy-Barnes-Bogut (Lee/Green/Ezeli/Speights off the bench) is much better than the lineup of Jack-Curry-Thompson-Barnes-Bogut (Landry/Injured Lee/Ezeli/Green off the bench) that was 2 wins away from the Western Conference Finals. Plugging Iggy into the lineup the Warriors used during the playoffs would allow the Warriors to continue the strategy that worked during the playoffs - (1) space the floor with three point shooters, (2) create matchup problems, (3) play improved defense, and (4) maximize the team’s collective strengths.
4. How much better is a lineup of Curry-Thompson/Barnes-Iggy-Lee-Bogut (Barnes/Thompson, Green, Ezeli, Speights off the bench) than a lineup of Curry-Thompson-Barnes-Lee-Bogut (Jack, Landry, Green, Ezeli off the bench)? I would argue that the downgrade from Jack and Landry to Barnes/Thompson is greater than or equal to the upgrade of Iggy over Thompson/Barnes. Jack and Landry have played the sixth man role for the majority of their careers and thrive in it. If Jack or Landry had an off game the other player could step it up. We don’t know how effective Thompson or Barnes would be as a sixth man and if they were off, the Warriors wouldn’t have anybody to carry the second unit.
5. I think a lineup of Curry-Thompson-Iggy-Barnes-Bogut would be one of the most exciting lineups in the league. Can you imagine Curry running the break with Iggy and Barnes filling the lanes and Thompson spotting up in the corner? What about Iggy running the break with Curry and Thompson spotting up and Barnes filling the lane?
Regardless, I expect Curry, Thompson, Barnes, Iggy, Lee, and Bogut to all get about 30 minutes a game. I just think Lee off the bench makes the most sense.