Meet David Lee
Every week, the FanHouse will spotlight an NBA player who has rescued himself from obscurity over the last few games. They may be unknowns clamoring for attention, bench guys breaking out, or prospects suddenly coming into their own; either way, you don't know them, you should, and now you will.
Who: David Lee. I've been talking up his rebounding prowess for a minute. The guy collects rebounds like I used to collect baseball cards. And with noted chuckers Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis jacking like there's no tomorrow - let's throw in Jamal Crawford, too - Lee is a busy man. Amazingly, Lee, a 6-foot-9 white kid from Missouri, is the 7th best rebounder in the NBA this season, snatching 10.4 a game. Players he secures more rebounds than: Ben Wallace, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming. Lee plays fewer minutes than all of them, too.
Early Years: Sure, he was a McDonald's All-American. And he won a high school dunk contest (that's video of him beating out skywalking James White of Cincinnati). But perhaps cooler than both is that Lee, a lefty, broke his arm in his younger days, and learned to play with his right hand. So he can take you either way, which is something not many power forwards can do.
NBA: As the last pick in the first round of the 2005 draft, not much was expected. As least not compared to the Knicks other draft picks. Far more hype was heaped upon tiny Nate Robinson and Arizona stud Channing Frye. It's still far to early to project outcomes of the trio, but right now, I'd say Lee has performed best. If there is a 6-9 player who outhustles Lee, I have not yet seen him. Frye needs to get tougher, and Nate Robinson needs to chill out.
Potential Problems: Thought I'd never say this, but there's a glut of talent on the Knicks frontline. Lee (11 points, 10 rebounds per game) is going to have to fight for time with Frye, small forward Jared Jeffries, and center Eddy Curry. Won't bother mention $35 million man Jerome James, who is downright awful.
Ladies Love Cool Dave: Back in March of this year, the New York Post ran a random sighting of Lee on a date with fetching Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Anne V. He does the dirty work under the hoop, and he has dated a swimsuit model. Must be nice to be David Lee.