I sat down with David Lee for about 3 minutes and 12 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer my questions.
Mike Kurylo: It’s no secret that you’ve been taking a lot more jumpers as your career has progressed, and it’s been reported that you work a lot on it in the off season. What exactly do you do in the off season to work on it? Are you working on it alone?
David Lee: I work with a lot of our coaches. Our assistant coaches have taken a special interest in continuing to improve my jumper, and I think it’s at the point now that mechanically it’s where it needs to be. Now it’s just the matter of getting used to shooting it in the game with confidence. That’s a big thing, plenty of shooters have that mentality.
Mike Kurylo: Was there a certain aspect of your jumper that you had to correct? Something that you worked on a lot?
David Lee: Yeah, when I got here – mechanically it wasn’t a sound shot. At times my elbow would come out or something like that. At different times I was [mechanically unsound]. But now it’s at the point that it’s just staying on balance and just shooting through the ball.
Mike Kurylo: It seems that you have a much more diverse offensive game these days, but you still have that label of being a blue collar guy. Do you think that [label] is a bit unfair at this point in your career?
David Lee: No it’s not unfair, but I think in this system it’s defined that I’m going to work a lot out of the pick & roll and be asked to finish inside and hit 15 foot jumpshots. Also last year I was at the top of the key a lot making plays for other guys. And that’s something you’re going to see a lot more this year – is me handling the ball more and making more plays. That’s something that I enjoy doing and I think that I can help us and be a lot more diverse on offense this year.
Mike Kurylo: How do you feel going 1-1 against someone? Are you pretty confidant…
David Lee: Well that’s something that in the NBA that just takes a little bit of experience. Some guys come into the NBA used to doing that and I didn’t do a lot of that in college. So I picked that up the last couple of years and I’m happy to have gotten better at it. I feel real comfortable now isolated with my back to the basket or facing up.
Mike Kurylo: One last question, what can you do [to improve your] defense? How can you practice that?
David Lee: Well the biggest thing is to get better. I’m going to do a lot more this year at working on scouting reports. A lot of times I’m guarding guys that are 50 lbs heavier & 5 inches [taller] so really I have to use what I know about them and their [tendencies], and just try to have them play to their weaknesses. Because you’re not going to stop guys like the Dwight Howards of the NBA, you have to keep them from really hurting your team.
Mike Kurylo: Sorry one more question, there’s a lot more front court depth this year especially at center, do you think you’ll be playing a lot more PF this year along those guys?
David Lee: I don’t know about a lot more, but I think I’ll get more time at the PF. Hopefully Darko [Milicic] and Eddy [Curry] can give us a boost there as well as Jordan Hill and I’ll be able to play power forward and get some much needed rest from the 5.