Last year at about this time, I was very excited about having Courtney Lee on the Boston Celtics. The plan was to have a guard rotation of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry. To me that sounded like a stacked backcourt. Unfortunately due to injuries (first Bradley's delayed start, then Rondo's early exit) we didn't really get that lineup for very long. As a result, guys were forced to fill in at roles that didn't really suit them very well and nobody really established much of a rhythm.
Aside from Terry, the guy that might have suffered from that the most was Courtney Lee. Right from the get go, the poor guy could NOT buy a bucket. He shot 18.2% from 3 point land in the month of November. That's a stat line that fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.
He did manage to bounce back and shoot in the high 30's and even the low 40's for the rest of the year and finished at a respectable 37.2%. But it is as if something happened on the way to the first round in New York and Doc Rivers apparently lost all faith in him because he only logged 19 minutes all series long.
At the time Doc explained that he was looking for an offensive threat that could create scoring opportunities on his own. If there's one thing Jordan Crawford can do, it is create shots. Lee kind of needs a system to work the spacing and ball movement that gets a guy like him a good look at the basket. The whole situation was really more of a condemnation of our team offense than it is of Courtney himself. Still, it had to hurt getting benched for a guy with questionable shot selection and a shaky-at-best defensive reputation.
On a different team, in a different situation, Lee might have been considered the perfect supporting piece. There is a new breed of role players across the NBA dubbed "3 and D guys." Wings and guards that can hit the three pointer, specifically from the corners, and play solid defense on opposing perimeter players are very valuable.
Now Doc Rivers is gone and the Celtics have basically rebooted their team and their short term goals. But here I am again thinking about a backcourt rotation of Rondo, Bradley, Lee, and [insert any one of our 30 shooting guards here] could do.
It is possible that Lee is just auditioning for a role on the next team he gets traded to. Or maybe he'll be allowed to stick around and see this rebuilding effort through. Either way, he's getting a second chance to prove his worth in Boston and my guess is that he'll make good use of this opportunity.