Courtney Lee has been a tough player to evaluate. He has really been feast or famine, either going for 20+ points or less than 10, and nothing really in between. Also, since Lee was the big piece (and maybe the only piece that finishes the season as a Net) acquired in the Vince Carter trade we like to keep an eye on how he has been playing. We did one of these updates after game #17, and another after game #38. With a little lull in the schedule, I thought now would be a good time to look at Courtney’s numbers again.
All data from Hoopdata.com
Usage & Turnovers
Courtney Lee’s usage dropped a touch yet again, going from 17.96 to 17.81. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since the big talking point going into the season was as Courtney’s usage increased, his numbers would drop. It is good to see the Nets keeping his usage as a manageable rate, because my fear was (and still is to a point) that Courtney’s usage would increase to over 20, making him inefficient. Lee’s Turnover Rate continues to rise (it is now sitting at 7.75), but it is still well below league average, so that means he is still doing a fantastic job of taking care of the basketball.
Courtney Lee’s shooting percentage is returning to the level he is shooting last year (he is actually shooting better this year from 10-23 feet), except for two key locations, the three point line and inside 10 feet (not at the rim). I personally think that this is due to the fact that he is being defended differently here in New Jersey than he was in Orlando last year. Last year, as the 5th or 6th option on that Magic team, Lee didn’t have defenses focus on him, this allowed him to get off a lot of open threes (we have discussed this in the past), but he was also able to get a lot of shots in the lane because teams would rather let Lee shoot than double off of Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard, or Hedo Turkaglu. This year, Courtney has settled into the third option, and with that he isn’t getting nearly as many open threes or runners in the lane.
These two locations are the main reason for his inconsistency. If Courtney Lee is hitting his three pointers and runners, he is going to have a big game. If not, he is going to have a game where he really struggles.
What has really impressed me about Courtney Lee is that no matter whether is his having a good game or an off-night, he brings it on the defensive end. In my opinion, Courtney Lee is one of the better defenders in the NBA, and the numbers back him up. Lee gets more rebounds this year, he gets more steals, blocks more shots, and takes more charges.