COJ: David Lee's slow start, and what can be done


Through three games, David Lee has not been the reincarnation of Larry Bird - something he appeared to be when he was beating up European teams in the preseason. And while you never like to rush to judgement this early into the season, it does seem somewhat fair to assume that he just might not reach Larry Legend status with the Celtics. Bummer.

The question now is, can he still be a useful player? So far, he's been poor. In 20 minutes a game, he's averaging just over 5 points on just 25% shooting from the field. And as Jay King points out, a lot of these looks are coming from the paint - an area he's traditionally been exceptional.

Despite the slow start, 'The White Owl' doesn't seem too concerned yet.

“I’m out there thinking more than I’m playing right now,” Lee admitted, “and that’s by no means an excuse. Obviously, I could be better finishing the ball, that’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for a decade now. (He has.) So I don’t expect this to continue.”
Source: Bill Doyle, Telegram

That's probably pretty fair. Three games is a very small sample size, and it certainly could be a bit of a funk. But I do think the way he's been used so far has something to do w/ his struggles.

Historically, David Lee has been very, very good in the pick and roll game. And it was a fair assumption that was a large part of the reason the Celtics decided to acquire him. While the Celtics might lack a go-to superstar when things get tight, the combination of Lee and Thomas could combine to be a good go-to play down the stretch.

So how's that combination playing together so far? Well.... infrequently; In 60 minutes of play, Lee has only shared the court with Thomas for 13 minutes. And in case you're wondering, he's actually shared the floor with Evan Turner even less (5 minutes).

Instead, Lee most commonly finds himself on the court with the Celtics starting front court, Avery Bradley & Marcus Smart. While the two might be above average players and prospects, neither - at least at this point - are above average playmakers. And while Lee's ability to be a secondary playmaker might've influenced Stevens decision to pair Lee with Smart & Bradley, it's clear that the starting unit as a whole is not really working.

Start Your Morning Off With... The Monstars stealing DJ Augustin's talents midgame, and the refs somehow not calling travel

Tuesday Treasure Hunt
By Paul Colahan

Every Tuesday Morning, we'll take a shallow dive into Danny Ainge's famed "Treasure Trove of Draft Picks" and see how our picks are panning out. Not all of them, that would take forever. And not the Celtics own pick, because we already know that that will be pick 30 after we raise Banner 18. But specifically the Brooklyn, Dallas, and Minnesota firsts and the Philly second rounder we have in the 2016 NBA Draft. Here we go.

The Pick: Brooklyn First Round
Overall Record     Past Week
(0-4)                       (0-4)
Recap: We're one week into the season and the Nets have managed to squeeze out four losses. A 102-75 drubbing by the Spurs was the low/highlight. Their game against the Bucks last night was delayed because there was a pickle on the court, meaning this is going to be a weird year in Net land.
The Week Ahead: Wed @Atl, Fri vs LaL, Sat @Mil.
If the Nets don't win at home against the Lakers on a Friday night they will probably go 0-82.

The Pick: Dallas First Round (Protected 1-7)
Overall Record     Past Week
(2-1)                       (2-1)
Recap: The Mavs starting out 2-1 is nice. Celtics fans are hoping that they stay just relevant enough not to turn on turbo tank mode halfway through the season in an effort to keep their pick. Opening the year with a 16 point road win against fellow fringe playoff candidates the Phoenix Suns was a statement that this Mavs team could just be slightly above average this year. Perfect.
The Week Ahead: Tues vs Tor, Thurs vs Cha, Sat vs NO
With tough matchups against the Raps and the Anthony Davises, the Mavs will even their record out at .500 where they should stay all year ensuring the Celtics a late lottery pick. Glad that's settled.
The Pick: Minnesota First Round (protected 1-12)
Overall Record     Past Week
(2-1)                       (2-1)
Recap: The Timberwolves have banded together in the wake of Flip Saunders' untimely passing and put up a few Ws against the Lakers and Nuggets. Don't expect them to keep up the pace... but with KG anything is possible. Towns is a monster, averaging 17 and 10 through three games.
The Week Ahead: Thu vs. Mia, Sat @ Chi, Mon @ Atl
Three tough matchups, two on the road, will show us whether or not the young wolf pack could surprise people this year.

The Pick: Philadelphia Second Round 
Overall Record     Past Week
(0-3)                       (0-3)
Recap: LOL.
The Week Ahead: Wed @Mil, Fri @Cle, Sat vs Orl, Mon vs Chi
Road Loss, Lebron Loss, Second night of a back-to-back Loss, Regular Loss. Another good week for Team Hinkie coming up.

Also...this Sixers' pick, which could easily be 31st overall, is one of the Celtic's most tradeable assets. And unlike the Mavs pick this year or picks in future drafts, the certainty of the Sixers being at or very close to the bottom of the league this year makes the pick both a known and a highly desireable commodity. Look for Ainge to dangle this one, and dangle it hard.