This is a series of posts which highlight each key player in the Celtics’ run towards banner 18. It will highlight the areas of their game they need to improve most for the Celtics to be able to compete with the talent-blitzed teams of 2012-13. The area will sometimes be a player’s biggest flaw, or sometimes his biggest strength, but each post will highlight what this Celtics team needs players to change this season for the Celtics to have success.
It remains to be seen what Courtney Lee will bring to the Celtics, as he has yet to play a game for the green and white. What should be noted is he brings three point shooting and is an active defender to what I believe should be the Celtics starting unit. He’s scrappy and has been known to put up points in bunches with his time for Orlando, New Jersey, and Houston. For more information on what Lee’s current game is, check out the post by Jordon which summarizes it quite nicely.
What he needs to bring to the Celtics is some tenacity from the two-guard position. The Celtics are used to running screens and many plays for the shooting guard. Many of those extra plays will most likely go to Rajon Rondo, for him to run the offense as he best sees fit. Long story short—Courtney Lee will have to find his offense through passes out of the post and transition.
Fortunately, transition is where Lee excels; now hitting the prime of his career he will be able to run the floor with either the first or second unit. He shot 49% for three from the corners, a skill which will be tested catching behind-the-back passes from Rondo on the break. What Lee needs to bring is a sense of scrappiness reminiscent of Posey on the 2008 championship team. If he can get under other players’ skin, get the team fired up, and play some tough defense it would be huge for the aging Celtics stars. Courtney Lee has averaged a steal per game for his career, and if the Western Kentucky product can continue to be pesky for the Celtics defense it will provide something Ray Allen couldn’t, some help on the other side of the court.
Filling Ray Allen’s shoes will be difficult, but for the Celtics to succeed, I believe they will utilize Lee in ways they simply could not with Ray. Take advantage of Lee’s younger body and the fact that he can dunk over people six inches taller than him. Lee and Allen both can shoot the ball from behind the arc, but more important for the Celtics are what they do differently. Making slight adjustments on both sides of the floor will help the Celtics in the transition of shooting guards.
The Celtics pushing it more on offense off of the rebound will help Lee feel more comfortable getting the shots he is used to. He also likes taking risks on the defensive end, so when he gambles, the Celtics will have to organize a better cover than Pete Rose. The Celtics using Lee’s youth and athleticism will be vital to both sides feeling comfortable moving on from the Ray Allen era.
Editors Note: I am sorry for mentioning the former Celtics shooting guard many times (including in the title) in this post. Once some actual basketball is played it will make it much easier to move on, but in the doldrums of the offseason, and I mean doldrums it is difficult not to reminisce.