So here's something I'm sure you didn't expect to read today:
There's a decent chance Courtney Lee is having a significant impact on the Western Conference playoff race. Let that one sink in for a moment.
We all thought Lee was putting together a solid season during his 30 games in Boston this year. He averaged 7.4 points over 16.8 minutes, while shooting 49% from the floor and 44% from three point land, notable improvements from his 46% and 37% a year ago.Mark Van Deusen 1/31/2014 07:00:00 AM Tweet Edit
But ever since Lee got to Memphis he's been absolutely on fire. He's starting at shooting guard and playing 30 minutes per night, while averaging 14.0 PPG. The scoring output is fairly proportional to his increase in court time, but his field goal percentage is way up as well. Lee is shooting 55% from the floor, and a staggering 96% from the free throw line (although his 3PT% has dropped slightly to 42%).
Yes, he's only been a Grizzlie for 11 games, and that's a very small sample. But consider this:
When Memphis acquired Lee they were 15-18, in 12th place in the West, and 3.5 games back of Dallas for the 8th seed. Fast forward to today and the Grizz have gone 9-2 with Lee in the lineup, are now 24-20, and trail the Mavericks by just half a game for the final playoff spot.
Maybe Memphis' turnaround is Lee-related, and maybe it's not (Marc Gasol also returned to the Grizzlies lineup 8 games ago after missing the previous 23); but it's also worth noting that the Celtics have gone 2-13 since shipping Lee out of town.
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