David Lee may be one of the new faces on this Boston Celtics roster, but he enters as one of the elder statesmen on the team.
Considering he and I are the same age, I'm not going to call him old. However, the 32-year old is the oldest player on this Celtics roster. Lee says that he actually likes that they have a such a young team, but he realizes that it means those young players will be looking up to him for his veteran leadership.
Lee probably won't be making any loud speeches the way Kevin Garnett used to do it in this Celtics locker room. That's not really up his alley, but what he can do is lead by example. He has no problem pulling a guy aside to give him advice when necessary, but standing in front of the team as a vocal leader isn't his style.
Last year was essentially a year off for Lee. An injury early in the season opened the door for Draymond Green to steal his starting spot, which he never gave back. The move turned out pretty well for the Golden State Warriors, who won a championship with Green emerging as one of the league's most versatile defenders. Lee described feeling frustrated when he wasn't getting the minutes he felt he deserved, but it worked out ok for him since he got a ring.
Joining the Celtics means he may have the opportunity to carve out a larger role than the one he leaves behind in Golden State. The lack of playing time also allowed him to save his body, so this year he'll come in feeling fresh and ready to go.
One thing Lee won't be bringing with him to his new team is his jersey number. No. 10 already hangs from the rafters of the TD Garden, having been retired for the legendary Jo Jo White. Lee will instead switch back to the No. 42 he wore with the Knicks, which he hopes won't cause Celtics fans to cringe.
Speaking of Celtics history, Lee says that his favorite player from the franchise's rich history is Larry Bird. Growing up he started watching basketball in an era dominated by Bird and the original Big Three. He described how guys like Bird and Kevin McHale weren't the most athletic guys, but they would always hustle and win based on their desire and skill. Lee sees a lot of benefit to watching old film of those players and taking from what they did.
Lee also came through with a clever line about how Robert Parish's nickname of "The Chief" is the best of all time... besides "Scal", of course.
The Celtics emphasize ball and player movement, which Lee feels fits his style well as a big man with excellent passing skills. He feels that this is the direction the league is heading in and is excited to be a part of it with this team. Lee expects to be able to develop great chemistry with his old friend Isaiah Thomas and the two should make a formidable pair in the pick-and-roll.
Lee prides himself on being an aggressive on the boards and making the hustle plays. He describes that as a staple of his game and he's the type of player that leaves it all on the floor every game. That mentality should quickly endear him to Celtics fans, who should be thrilled to hear that he won't allow that aspect of his game to change.