OAKLAND — With the game a little more than a month away, All-Star candidacy chatter has started in earnest, and the timing couldn’t be better for Warriors forward David Lee.
With teammate Stephen Curry looking like a virtual lock to be a Western Conference All-Star this season — quite possibly as a starter — the focus has turned to Lee, who represented the Warriors last season as their only selection but has faced an uphill battle to make this year’s game in New Orleans on Feb. 16.
Lately, Lee has been climbing that hill. Over the past 14 games, during which time the Warriors have posted a 12-2 record, he is averaging 21.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 59.1 percent from the field. He has played in all 39 games this season, has scored in double figures in every one, and has a double-double in 21.
That said, Lee is unlikely to be voted into the All-Star Game with balloting scheduled to close Monday. He is 14th in the Western Conference frontcourt balloting, trailing even teammate Andre Iguodala, who is ninth. Starters will be announced on Jan. 23, and the reserves will be revealed Jan. 30.
Lee became the Warriors’ first All-Star in 16 years when he was selected as a reserve last season. He hopes to join Curry in New Orleans and give Golden State two All-Stars for the first time since 1993, when Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway made the West squad.
“I think my play of late has been All-Star level,” Lee said Monday. “There are a lot of really good power forwards. Obviously, you have a guy like (Portland’s LaMarcus) Aldridge, who has proven he’s played the best of any power forward, and there are a lot of other guys in that category. We’ll see how it works out.”
Curry believes Lee has to be back in the conversation for an All-Star nod.
“One hundred percent ... I don’t think he was really ever out of it,” Curry said. “But he’s shown how important he is to the success of our team and why he’s been there twice. I don’t think it was fair to take him out of that conversation early in the season without allowing things to settle in and develop. It’s nice to see him playing the way he is and I expect to see him in New Orleans representing the Warriors.”