Per Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports Florida, Lee approached Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the USA basketball team, to see if he could join in on the festivities:
Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball, said Tuesday by phone that Golden State Warriors forward David Lee, a former University of Florida star, approached him at All-Star Weekend earlier this month in Houston to indicate his desire to play for Team USA. And Colangelo is intrigued.
“He’s had a heck of a year,’’ Colangelo said. “He’s been healthy. He’s been with us before but he had injuries.’’
Lee was in Team USA’s training camp in the summer of 2010 in preparation for the last World Cup, which was then known as the World Championships. Lee was considered to have a good chance to make the team, which eventually won gold in Turkey. But he had to drop out due to a finger injury.
Though Lee is often considered overrated by many pundits, I’m just not one of them. I’ve come to his defense before and actually consider him one of the more underrated power forwards in the game at this point.
Naturally, the thought of him playing for Team USA in 2014 intrigues me.
As Colangelo noted, Lee is having a “heck” of a season. He’s averaging 19 points and 11.1 rebounds on 51.6 percent shooting, none of which are career-highs. That said, he has come to dispel the myth that he can’t make a meaningful impact on a playoff caliber team. Given a healthy supporting cast and a fellow star in Stephen Curry, he has been able to help carry the Golden State Warriors back toward contention.
More impressive than the tangible numbers is his continued work ethic. Save for last season, he has embodied durability his entire career. For a 6’9″ forward who is often found battling opposing centers, that’s saying something.
No, Lee isn’t an especially athletic specimen, but that’s not exactly what Team USA needs at this point. The squad has plenty of athleticism every time its put together. What it needs is more grit.
I liken Lee to a defensively inferior Tyson Chandler. He’s doesn’t rely so much on his abilities as much as he does his will and diligence. Case in point: Only three players in the NBA under 6’10″ are grabbing at least 10 rebounds per game, and he is one of them.
Lee isn’t the flashiest of players or the biggest of names, but he doesn’t have to be. Team USA should merely welcome his devotion and refusal to yield to his supposed physical limitations.
Is this to say he should be on the team down the line for the 2016 Olympics?
We’re not sure. But he most definitely deserves an opportunity to be a part of the faction Colangelo fields in 2014.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.