Anchored by undersized bigs David Lee and Carl Landry, the three-headed monster of Jarrett Jack, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has proven to be one of the most dangerous lineups in the NBA this season. Originally set to be a mid-game, change-of-pace scoring threat, this small-ball lineup has turned into Jackson’s ace in the hole during tight games.
This lineup is comprised of three excellent passers, a solid post player in Lee and an excellent one in Landry. Its five-man versatility allows its knockout scoring punch to come from all angles, flanked by a 3-point assault few teams in this league can replicate. Per 100 possessions, it’s averaging a league best in points (117.7), 3-point shooting (43 percent) and is a close second in total field goal percentage (51 percent).
|Poss||Team (Per 100 Possessions)|
|1||S. Curry | J. Jack | C. Landry | D. Lee | K. Thompson||GSW||33||244.1||480||462||92.6||.513||11.0||25.6||.431||.575||.783||117.7|
|2||C. Bosh | M. Chalmers | U. Haslem | L. James | D. Wade||MIA||20||294.3||563||558||91.4||.517||7.1||17.2||.412||.558||.782||114.4|
|3||C. Anthony | R. Brewer | T. Chandler | R. Felton | J. Kidd||NYK||18||210.4||403||398||91.4||.461||12.2||30.8||.395||.527||.745||113.9|
|4||C. Butler | W. Green | B. Griffin | D. Jordan | C. Paul||LAC||34||519.3||967||966||89.3||.493||8.0||21.5||.370||.536||.656||113.4|
|5||K. Durant | S. Ibaka | K. Martin | K. Perkins | R. Westbrook||OKC||39||254.4||501||498||94.2||.478||6.0||16.6||.361||.515||.867||110.8|
Inserting Jack – a sixth man of the year candidate – at the point guard postion frees Curry, the leagues most deadly 3-point shooter, of his ball-handling responsibilities and allows him to jet off screens for more open looks. It gives Curry, a player with so many elite talents, so many options. He can either catch and shoot with his ultra-pure release, penetrate the lane or run a quick pick-and-roll with whichever big is nearby. Both Lee and Landry are great partners for this two-man dance. And because Lee and Landry are both fundamentally sound and capable rebounders, Golden State rarely compromises itself against bigger teams. It also helps that they don’t miss too often.
It might seem cliché, but it truly is amazing what a little veteran leadership can do for a young and talented team. And it’s not as simple as just plucking veteran player X off the waiver wire for the veteran minimum every year. It has to be the right blend of players, as team chemistry and camaraderie can make or break an NBA locker room (see Los Angeles Lakers). Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
“We’re continuing to get better,” Lee said to Bucher in his postgame interview. “We played some sub-par basketball for about a week and a half and got through a tough part of our schedule.”
Notice how guys like David Lee aren’t afraid to hold the team responsible for a bad stretch of play?
While so many people still think of Lee as an overrated product of Mike D’Antoni’s system and Carl Landry an undersized journeyman, these two have brought an uncanny stability, selflessness and level of accountability to this incorrigible organization.
Going up against the frontline of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, Landry finished with 20 points and six rebounds. Lee finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds, his league leading 17th game of at least 20 and 10 in those categories, yet could only deflect attention and praise others after the fact.
“I just tried to come out and rebound the basketball and be aggressive offensively,” Lee said. “Our guards got me involved really well tonight. I had a shaky first quarter but then came back in the second half and just tried to continue to attack and it worked out.
“It’s been a huge week for us so far. Tonight being the halfway point, it puts a lot of things in perspective. We’ve come a long way as a team. We’ve proven that we can play with anybody. Now we need to go continue to take care of business.”