The bright spot of an otherwise painful Game 3 of the 2015 NBA Finals was unquestionably the productive 10 minutes that former All-Star David Lee played in the fourth quarter to help the Golden State Warriors pull within one point of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News wrote, continuing that level of play in Game 4 "...would be a remarkable end to a seesaw Warriors tenure..." if indeed he is moved this offseason to help Joe Lacob and the Warriors avoid the luxury tax.
Coach Nick of BballBreakdown did a nice job of illustrating what Lee did so well in his latest video, including simply setting better screens than Draymond Green and quite possibly better than he ever has — whether he's just fresh from sitting so long or picking up dirty tricks from Andrew Bogut. (Most of all, I love that Lee actually pivoted out of the pick and roll on the proper foot — it's always astounding to see how many pro players choose to turn their backs to the ballhandler out of the pick and roll).
However, Mike Prada of SB Nation did a great job of breaking down the big picture of both what went wrong for the likes of Bogut, Green and Festus Ezeli that created the opportunity for Lee to step in — whether because of predictable shortcomings or struggles on the championship stage (or Marreese Speights not even playing?), nobody else in the Warriors' frontcourt was particularly effective.
However, Prada also highlighted a potential problem with running Lee for bigger minutes.
The problem is that both decisions force the Warriors to become something they're not. Lee can't shoot threes, defend the pick-and-roll, protect the rim or offer the positional flexibility the Warriors crave. He's the antithesis of what the Warriors built this year, so relying heavily to him is an indictment of that very structure.
So, too, is changing the entire offense just to get Curry (and Thompson) open. The whole point of Kerr replacing Mark Jackson was to build an offense that actually used all five men as threat. Resorting to the Splash Brothers Show would be a reversion to last year, when the Warriors' offense was too easy to defend.
It would be quite the irony if simplifying the offense to free up Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ended up becoming the winning solution given the coaching change and what got them to this point, but the more likely winning scenario is simply getting better performance out of Green and the rest of the bigs.
For more on what went wrong in Game 3, check out our storystream.