CHICAGO —Warriors forward David Lee was named as a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team that was announced Thursday.
Lee called the honor bittersweet because teammate Stephen Curry didn't make it despite having an outstanding season.
Lee, the first Warrior on the team since Latrell Sprewell in 1997, said via conference call, "I'm enjoying the fact that I made it. At the same time, one of my teammates, I think, deserves this as well."
The Western Conference coaches responsible for selecting the seven reserves chose three guards: Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, San Antonio's Tony Parker and Houston's James Harden.
Instead of Curry, most of the votes for the last spot went to a fourth big man, drawing the ire of Warriors coach Mark Jackson and TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley.
Jackson called the snub "a travesty" while on a local radio show. Barkley said he was about ready to explode.
"For Steph Curry not to make that team is a flat-out joke," Barkley said after the reserves were revealed on TNT. "I'm just disappointed the coaches aren't rewarding winning."
Although vote counts are not revealed, it seemed that Lee's spot was never in doubt. His 19.8 points-per-game scoring average, along with 10.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists, are the kind of numbers that are hard to overlook. He's been the team's most consistent producer all season.
And, unlike several Warriors stars who've had great numbers in the past -- Jason Richardson, Monta Ellis — Lee is doing it for a winning team. At 26-15, the Warriors own the fifth-best record in the West as they begin the second half of the regular season today against the Bulls in Chicago.
Lee's impact on that record has been undeniable. He has outplayed several of the West's better power forwards in this surprising season.
"My biggest goal the whole season is to help turn this team into a playoff team," said Lee, who made his first All-Star appearance in 2010 as an injury replacement. "I think we've done a good job thus far. This is something that comes when you're on a good team."
Curry can still make the all-star team as an injury replacement. If one of the 12 players chosen to the West team can't play, Commissioner David Stern will select his replacement. Two starters — Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard — are nursing injuries.
It seems Curry was a casualty of the Western Conference's depth. The coaches were supposed to select two backcourt players, three from the frontcourt, and two guys from any position.
It's hard to argue that Curry should have been picked over Westbrook, Parker or Harden.
Westbrook has ridiculous numbers — 22.7 points, 8.1 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.9 steals-- and his team has the best record in the NBA, despite losing to the Warriors on Wednesday nigh.
Parker is putting together his best season in years (19.8 points, 7.4 assists) and is a big reason the Spurs have the second-best record in the NBA, despite injuries limiting star guard Manu Ginobili. Those two were virtual locks.
You could have made a case for Curry getting in over Harden with Golden State four spots ahead of the Rockets in the standings. But Harden has proved to be an elite offensive playerHis 25.8 scoring average is fourth in the NBA, and he has the Rockets — even at .500 — playing above expectations. Hard to leave him off.