Courtney Lee was supposed to be a pretty big offseason acquisition. When We didn't get Ray Allen back, he was the younger, more athletic replacement that would help us bridge the gap to the future. He might yet be that in the coming years, but right now he's not doing so well. In fact, he's fallen right out of Doc's playoff rotation.
He went from just 20 minutes in game 1, to sitting on the bench until garbage time in game 2. In his place, Jordan Crawford has been gaining minutes and apparently Doc's confidence.
Rivers was asked Wednesday about his preference of Crawford over Lee, and he said he simply thinks Crawford is playing better than Lee right now. "Yeah, it's not that deep," Rivers said. "I just think right now (Crawford is) is (playing better) and I think offensively he gives you a better shot at it. Courtney, defensively, is better, so it really depends on -- with us, because of the injuries we have at the guard spots, it really depends on the matchups for us, whether Jordan, in certain spots, or Courtney, will play. And that's just the way it's going to be."
Lee is unquestionably the better defender and when he's hitting shots he could (dare I say "should?") be the better offensive player. Yet Crawford can create his own shot and sometimes Lee just disappears for stretches.
I see this as a coach looking to pull any string that he can to get this offense going in the right direction. Crawford certainly has his defects, but if he starts going a little sideways, you can always yank him and bring in the more reliable Lee.
Put another way, Lee is the somewhat known commodity. He's safe. That's fine when you are up or close. When you are flailing away on offense, and need a spark, you need a guy without conscience who can score quickly and often. That's pretty much the whole reason why you brought Crawford on board. He's risky, but he can pay out. It didn't work out last night, but I think it was worth the gamble.
With that said, I'd still prefer to see Lee play his way back into Doc's good graces and playing at home is always a good opportunity to do that. Home games tend to bring the best out of supporting role players and that's often the difference between wins and losses.
I've been a Lee supporter all year, including during his longest slumps early in the season. My reasoning is that he's a good shooter and shooters get hot eventually and the averages even out. My biggest hope was that he would make a big difference in the playoffs. He's gonna need to get on the court to make that happen, but I think he will sooner or later.
With that said, the first priority is the win. I'd start Fab Melo at point guard if it could get us a win.