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What happened to Courtney Lee?

He was brought in for defense and 3 point shooting. In an up and down season, he didn't finish so well and found himself sitting in the end.


Courtney Lee has been one of the bigger head scratchers of the year for many Celtics fans. We were sold on his ability to play defense and hit three pointers. He was one piece of the puzzle that was going to help us turn the page from the Ray Allen era. He was supposed to be good enough to help the team this year and young enough to grow with Rondo and the rest later.

It didn't really work out like that. Early in the year he struggled with his shooting. Eventually that started to come around but it sounds like he wasn't used to shooting spot up shots so often - so according to Forsberg's article that's something he'll be working on this summer.

The other element he was supposed to bring was defense. While there were times when he and Avery Bradley looked fierce out there together, overall it turns out that Lee wasn't delivering on defense.

Will Boston Celtics guard Courtney Lee be back with the team next season - ESPN Boston

And it really goes back to the defense. According to Synergy Sports data, Lee allowed 0.858 points per play, ranking in the 54th percentile among all league players. Inside the arc, Lee had solid numbers when he kept his man in front of him and forced to shoot over his size. But Lee struggled to defend the 3-point line (opponents shot 39.6 percent there against him) and was susceptible to dribble penetration. Despite running with the starters for much of the season, the Celtics had a defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) of 102.5 when Lee was on the floor (and it dropped to 98.3 when he was on the bench.

That right there is the biggest reason why Lee went to the bench in the playoffs. That and his turnovers (another thing he'll apparently be working on).

I don't think that it helps that both Bradley and Lee were forced into a platoon fill-in point guard role that neither is really suited for. It does seem like Lee is a nice guy and got along very well with the other young guys on the squad. Perhaps another year in Doc's system and more time in his ideal role as backup shooting guard will make all the difference.

Or maybe he'll be packaged in a trade this offseason and the Courtney Lee experiment will be at an end. We'll have to wait and see.

I hope that he can turn it around next year, but it is clear that this past year was a disappointment.

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