When a reporter tried to delicately word a question about last season’s struggles, Lee tried to put him at ease.
“First of all, you don’t have to be scared to ask that question. Last year was probably one of my worst years I’ve had being in the NBA,” said Lee. “I spoke about it all the time and said I had to find that consistency. That’s one thing, I got back in the gym, I worked on a lot of ballhandling, a lot of shooting, getting my shot back.
“Again, a lot of it had to do with confidence at times, and I feel my confidence has skyrocketed right now, so hopefully it’s going to make that transition into the season and into games and keep it at that high level so I can get back to playing the way I’ve always played.”
We haven’t talked much about Courtney Lee this summer outside of potentially including him in a trade. But I like Lee, and I think he can be part of this team’s rebuilding process.
There is no doubt that things fell apart for him last year. For whatever reason, he couldn’t consistently find the two things that make him worth having on your team: the touch that will help you spread the floor, and the defense that can help key the break.
Sure, he did it in stretches, and after Rajon Rondo went down, he and Avery Bradley teamed up to effectively form the “Pit Bulls” back court that I still think can work in short bursts. But just to show you how much of an afterthought Courtney’s been, I didn’t even mention him when looking at the point guard situation in yesterday’s dump.
This season presents a clean slate for everyone on this team, but few need it more than Lee. This is as pressure-free an environment as a player will find. If he goes out there and just plays ball, he could find some heavy minutes in Brad Stevens’ rotation.
In other news…
As far as points of emphasis, the one that will come into play the most is delay-of-game violations when offensive players redirect the ball (i.e. toss it to the ref or bounce it out of bounds) after a made basket. League officials say it happened 214 times during the playoffs last season. Blowing the whistle on such shenanigans will speed up the game. Another good one: A team will lose possession if an offensive player goes out of bounds and does not return to the court immediately (with exceptions, of course, for injury and other circumstances that can’t be avoided.) Seems like a small thing, but this is a tactic that the Denver Nuggets started using a couple of years ago to further spread out the floor and confuse the defense. Last season, league officials say 11 teams used the tactic.
You see that “toss it to the ref thing” all the time. Every once in a while, the refs have called a delay of game warning, but apparently now they’ll do it every time. Get ready for a whistle-filled preseason.
And Brandon Bass is learning to swim. Check him out.
Not bad, Brandon. Maybe now you’ll finally get into shape.
Jay King has more videos of Brandon learning to swim over on Mass Live.