Is Courtney Lee really playing that bad? The numbers say otherwise.

Could it be we are being too harsh?

I personally admit I have been rather harsh of Courtney Lee. Saying things such as I wish he would be traded or shipped out, that I see no sense in keeping this guy because his defense and offense has not shown up this year. I'll admit, I have not been happy with C.Lee so far this year. There have been a lot of people defending him, saying it will just take time, give him time to get in his groove etc. etc. but I have not wanted to hear such things.

Keep in mind, I have always been a fan of Courtney Lee. I have watched him the last few years and felt as if he has been improving each year and getting a little better each season. We all know he has been a fairly good defender, and a decent 3 point shooter. This season, as I watch him, I have felt like he has not been producing.

However, today, someone I follow on twitter was pointing out some advanced statistics of Courtney Lee and how he is really doing so far this year. This led me to take a look a little deeper into his advanced statistics today, just to see how he is doing in comparison to his previous seasons. The first stat that jumps out? His Drtg (or Defensive Rating per 100 possessions), he has a 105 so far this season. I will not bother going into how good that is compared to the rest of the league, but what is important is, this is the 2nd best C.Lee has been in Drtg in his entire career. The only time he was better? His rookie year he was rated a 104. This means per 100 possessions on defense, he allowed 104 his rookie year, this year he is estimated to allow around 105. Last year? That number was 107, before 110, and before 111. This means that he is improving on defense, even for the Celtic's. Now - we could just say this is because he is playing on a better team and a better defensive team than in the past, but still, he is performing better than last year in this statistic.

The next stat to pop up? His True Shooting % is .512, his career is .535. That is not much of a difference. Keep in mind that his 3 point shooting % is .28 this year, that is surely not helping his true shooting % yet, he is nearly at his career. His 3 point shooting % is .38 which is .1 difference which can make a huge impact on a true shooting percent. This led me to dig deeper, how could his true shooting % be so close to his career?

Lee is shooting 45% per 36 minutes on jump shots. That is how, this is tied with his career best shooting % per 36 minutes (last time he did this? His rookie year). He is shooting this well, while he takes 2-3 shots less per 36 minutes. This is a big reason why his true shooting % is so close to his career average. Also, keep in mind, true shooting % includes free throws, and Lee is having roughly an average year for him at the line producing roughtly .833 % per 36 minutes.

Now for me, this is a lot of numbers. Makes things a bit confusing, but so far, based on all of these statistics, Lee is either having equal to best in his career, or VERY close to his career best averages so far this season. So why are we so upset with C.Lee here in Boston? Yeah, he is not shooting too well on his 3 pointers. However, as everyone states, a guy who shoots .38 career will not keep shooting .28, that this is just a slump. I would have to agree. So what else could be causing the issue for our discontent? Well, there is one final statistic that jumps out.

It's his TOV% or his estimated Turn Overs per 100 plays (estimated of course). Courtney Lee is at a whopping 19.1% Which means he is turning the ball over nearly 1 in every 5 plays. That is pretty high. Not to mention his worst year besides this year? It was his rookie year and the number was only 10.6%. He is nearly doing twice as bad as his worst year to date - in turn overs.

Now there are many other statistics to look at and examine. However, based on everything we have looked at, this is the same Courtney Lee as in the past every year. So why are we being so harsh on this guy?

I cannot answer that. I guess we are just holding expectations of seeing the same numbers as last year but he is not doing so at a quick glance. Don't believe me? Take a look at the advanced statistics site here.

Please discuss what you think.

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