Courtney Lee's time in Boston has been brief, but also disappointing. We were promised elite 3-point shooting, but he has shot a career-worst 24%. He was supposed to be a good, athletic finisher but he has shot a career-worst 52.9% at the rim. Some over the summer were even predicting that Lee would keep the starting job over Avery Bradley, but instead he lost it to Jason Terry before the schedule even hit double-digit games. But if you look past some of his offensive struggles, Lee has really shown an all-around game that has helped him be a nice role-player, even when his 3s are not falling.
Lee was praised for his defense when we first got him, and he has not disappointed. Showing off his defensive versatility, Lee has shown his ability to apply ball-pressure, be stout in the post, and close out well. Even when his footwork and rotations are not perfect, his boundless energy always gives headaches to the opposition.
And it is not just the eye-test, the stats back it up too. According to Synergy Sports data, Lee was allowing a mere 0.704 points per play, ranked him in the 91st percentile among all NBA players. No other Celtic comes close to those numbers. On that team that lost its defensive ace to injury, Lee has done an amazing job filling in for Bradley.
While Lee has struggled from 3-point territory and at the rim, he has not entirely been a disaster offensively. Lee has never been a great mid-range shooter, except for his sophomore year in NJ, (when he shot 43% on 3.1 shots), but in his time in Boston he has exceeded even those numbers. Lee has shot 60% on 1.4 shots from there in his 14 games as a Celtic.
While that 60% is most likely unsustainable, its encouraging to see a guy labeled a "3 and D" player having the ability to take one dribble past the 3-point line and hit a jumper from 24 ft. Lee also shows off his catch-and-shoot ability here, as he has been assisted on 83.3% of those mid-range shots.
Lee has not entirely met expectations during his short time in Boston (whether or not those expectations were fair is another story), but he has done things that bode well for the time once his 3-point shot returns. Lee is a career 38% 3-point shooter, so we know he will not keep shooting 24%. Lee knows he is struggling, and is working hard to fix the problem. Until then, time is the best thing to give him. And once he gets that 3-point shot back, hopefully we will see the player we wanted all along.
Follow Jun Pang on Twitter @CjEuLnTICS Jun Pang 12/02/2012 05:20:00 PM Tweet