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”I wasn’t playing like my normal self,” admitted Lee. “Roles changed a little bit, they wanted me to focus more on being a defensive player and spot-up shooter. I have a whole summer to get involved in doing a lot of spot-up shots, and working on my role, what it is going to be next year and whatnot. I’ll be prepared for that, a lot better than I was this year.”
Now that the season is over, the inevitable blame game has already started. Who is to blame for the Celtics fall? In some corners, Courtney Lee has taken a bit of heat, and understandably so with his underwhelming performance this season. Lee came to Boston in a sign and trade deal that landed him a pretty little contract, but failed to live up to the expectations that he and Jason Terry would replace Ray Allen.
Lee had his chances this season, he started almost half the season due to the Avery Bradley injury, and got his fair share of time off the bench as well; and in that time he did nothing to impress his coach enough to give him any meaningful minutes down the stretch. The highlight of his season coming after the Rondo injury when he was paired with Avery Bradley and the duo had some flashes of tenacious defense. Other than that, Lee’s shot struggled with was supposed to be his calling card, and he failed to catch on to the help defense philosophy of the Celtics.
So why does he deserve another chance then? Well, is this not the same team that kept giving Marquis Daniels chance after chance to find his role? I look at this as a similar situation. A player who showed flashes with other organizations that just hasn’t performed here yet (funny enough, anyone notice how well Marquis played in Milwaukee this year? Figures). Lee admits his faults and understands where the problems were, so that is a step in the right direction, admitting the problem is the first step towards solving it.
Lee expresses that he is going to work the entire offseason on acclimating himself better to the system and becoming a more efficient player in that system. At least he is saying all the right things, sounds as if he has the potential to be the player we expected if he does what he says that he is going to do. That said, his leash has to be short. The Celtics cannot afford to wait for him to flip the light switch next season and figure it out, or risk that it will just never happen as was the case with Marquis. Give Lee another chance at the 6th Man role next season, but any extended period of slumping and that could be it for Lee in Boston and time to move on.
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