Stat Padding

The prevailing attititude in the New York media is that Mike D'Antoni really likes David Lee. Admires his hard work, his commitment to improving his game. Wants to see him recognized for his efforts, and help him get a fat free-agent deal after the season.

So the reason D'Antoni has repeatedly left Lee on the floor during blowouts... the story goes... is to allow Lee to compile video-game stats. Y'know, like his 37-point, 20-board, ten-assist outing -- which came during a 128-117 loss to Golden State.

(And while we're on the subject... since when is this an assist? That highly-suspect dime -- Lee's tenth of the game -- was actually reviewed by the league and allowed to stand.)

Now, I buy the notion that D'Antoni lets Lee run up his numbers as a sort-of reward. And as a Lee owner in a couple of fantasy leagues, I endorse any and all opportunity for the guy to pad his stats.

But I can't help but wonder what Andray Blatche has ever done to merit that sort of opportunity? Check out this breakdown of the last 20 seconds of the Wizards' ten-point win over the Nets on Sunday, in which Blatche tries (in vain) to collect an utterly-meaningless tenth rebound to complete his first career triple-double.

This is the same guy who, just weeks ago -- told coaches he didn't want to re-enter a game after being called out for a blown defensive assignment.

Note to Flip Saunders: stat padding is a privilege, not a right.


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