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OAKLAND – Six weeks into his season and 10 years into his NBA career, David Lee has adjusted his line of sight.
The eyes that once gazed upon the stat sheet, where he rarely disappointed, have turned in another direction.
They now linger over the standings.
"I'm happy that I'm at the point in my career now," Lee said Monday, "where I see the big picture."
The big picture displays the Warriors getting off to their best start in franchise history (37-8) and sitting atop the Western Conference standings. It reveals a team of such considerable depth, particularly at guard and forward, that coach Steve Kerr could move to the bench such longtime starters as decorated veterans Andre Iguodala and Lee.
"When I was younger and more immature, I might have taken it personally and wondered what was going on," Lee said. "I probably wouldn't have understood it. But for me, it's a great opportunity to be on a championship-level team."
Restricted by a strained hamstring, Lee missed all but seven minutes of the first eight weeks of the season. The power forward did a lot of observing, which led to fairly extensive self-examination. Knowing he'll turn 32 in April, and that most his career is behind him, altered his perspective.
When Lee returned on Dec. 22, it was as a reserve. After starting all but two games of his four-year Warriors career, has come to accept his new role as a backup to Draymond Green.
"A lot of it is putting my ego in my back pocket," he said.
"When I was out, I realized that we have a special opportunity this year to be a great team. I'd probably be a little more agitated that I'm not starting if we were a below .500 team right now. But the fact that things are going so well, and I see how much having guys like Andre and I coming off the bench is helping the overall product, it makes it worthwhile."
Kerr now knows he can find another scorer on his bench, one that can play power forward or, in certain lineups, center.
"He's just one of those guys who knows how to play," the coach said. "There's a flow to the game when David's on the floor."
Lee is shooting 50 percent. He has had a 24-point game, two 10-rebound games and a seven-assist game and, despite a reputation for soft defense, four games in which he has blocked two shots.
Lee's personal statistics are, naturally, down. He's still a 20-and-10 guy, but instead of averages for points and rebounds those numbers now represent averages for minutes and points.
"I've had plenty of years averaging 20 and 10," Lee said. "If I go out there now and play 40 minutes, I'm sure I could get close to that. But it's not about that. Coach's only agenda is winning, and that goes for everybody on the team."
Sounds like a big-picture point of view. Lee has spent most of his career on teams that lost more than they won; he didn't play in a playoff game until his eighth season. The last two seasons, however, have opened his eyes.
He can now see beyond his own contribution, to the big picture, which indicates the Warriors have the leadership and talent required to win a championship.