AMHERST, NY-We continue to preview the Boston Celtics roster for the 2012-2013 season and today we look at Courtney Lee’s outlook for this upcoming season. Originally drafted 22nd overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic out of Western Kentucky, Lee had played on three teams before his stop with the Celtics. A 6’5 shooting guard with a nice blend of athleticism and strength, Lee has always had the reputation as a solid player who will do a number of different things to help a team win a ballgame. Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers heavily recruited Lee this offseason as a free agent, and at times it seemed like an unlikely scenario. After previously signing Jason Terry, the Celtics appeared to use most of their remaining cap room up on the former Dallas Mavericks shooting guard. In order to pry away Lee from the Houston Rockets, Celtics GM Danny Ainge needed to get creative, and who better to work on a trade with than his former teammate and close friend Kevin McHale. Originally beloved for his playing career in Boston, McHale has acquired even more fans in the New England area for helping to facilitate the trade that brought Kevin Garnett to town. Ainge executed a sign and trade deal, sending Jajuan Johnson, E’twaun Moore, and other spare parts to the Rockets for Lee. This is exactly the type of move that keeps teams in contention. Any team in the league could use a player of Lee’s caliber and the Celtics were fortunate enough to get him before another team scooped him up.
Lee is an excellent defensive player who typically has the task of guarding the opponent’s best guard on a nightly basis. His work in the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers as a rookie was extremely impressive. He did a solid job staying in front of Kobe Bryant, and even though the Magic were handled pretty easily in the series, Lee became a household name in the league. He has very good athleticism and is the type of player that can run with Rajon Rondo on the fastbreak and make the type of backdoor cuts that the Celtics so often utilize on the offensive end. He is also a consistent outside shooter with a career 3 point shooting percentage roughly around 40%., a number very similar to former Celtic Ray Allen.
Lee does not have many weaknesses to his game. He certainly will not be confused for an All Star or a top 20 or 30 player in this league, but he is an extremely well rounded player. One criticism with his game is a lack of a killer instinct on the offensive end. He never seems to unleash his inner Paul Pierce and attempt to take over a game, but in hindsight, maybe that simply is just not the player Lee is. He is a soft spoken player, who simply brings his lunch pail and hard hat to work each day and always seems to get his job done.
Lee will play a very important role on this Celtics team this season. With Avery Bradley expected to miss the start of the season with a separated shoulder, Lee is expected to start as the team’s shooting guard. It will be interesting to see what Rivers does with his lineups when Bradley returns. Many expect Lee to then shift to the bench, but this move would have no hindrance on his minutes. He will still play a ton for this team and will certainly be asked upon to carry a lot of the burden this season. He will wreak havoc on the defensive end next to Rondo, and he will also be counted on to hit big shots as the season progresses, a very similar role to former Celtic James Posey.
Courtney Lee was an excellent signing for this team and will be a very instrumental player for the team as they make their quest for banner 18.
Rob Lunder covers the Boston Celtics for Rant Sports. For all Celtics news, check out the Boston Celtics homepage on Rant Sports.