For the people that think Lee can’t survive in the half court: Did you see yesterday’s game? I’ve noticed that David “General” Lee (thanks DRED) has been playing really well on offense, especially with the ball in his hands. He likes to get it 10 feet from the hoop, and in the past he’d just try to drive baseline & use his finishing skills to score. But recently he’s added a little jumper that he works from that same spot. He didn’t hit it yesterday (I only remember him attempting it once), but the General has hit that shot this season.
Lee nailed a ten footer on Monday I believe, which prompted a pretty noticeable remark from Clyde. In just about every game Frazier points out one play that the player was practicing on. Clyde did it last night when one of the Cavs had the ball – and remarked how the player was working on that shot before the game. In any case when Lee hit the shot on Monday, Clyde remarked how Lee had been practicing that shot and working with Aguirre. That’s a good sign that Lee is attempting to improve himself. I’m sure in college he was a fine player without a jumper, that usually happens with NBA caliber players. Why shoot a jumpshot when you can repeatedly beat them inside? But in the NBA, the level of play is higher, and you’re no longer better than 99% of the competition – so you have to improve yourself.
Now I know this may come to Owen’s chagrin, because efficient scoring usually occurs near the hoop. However, it seems that Lee often does this early in order to make his defender play him tighter on the perimeter. Of course that he does it from the same spot where he likes to setup on offense means that Lee is developing into a more complete player in the half court set. No longer can defenders step back and prepare for a drive, because Lee is apt to hoist a jumper.
And the results? According to 82games, Lee is shooting 38.9% eFG from the outside. Consider that Zach Randolph is shooting 37.0 % eFG, and you have to think that Lee is at least competent with his shot. The good news is that only 24% of Lee’s shots have been classified as “jump” shots by 82games, whereas Randolph’s repertoire consists is 56% jumpshots. Well I guess that’s not good news for Zach Randolph…
But what’s just as impressive is Lee’s passing skills. He’s not particularly good at threading the needle inside – but what he’s good at is finding the open man on the perimeter. At times Lee knows who he’s going to pass the ball to before he gets it, and at times he’s good at scanning the field when he receives the ball – waiting for the offense to unfold. He doesn’t create double teams or make other guys open, but he does get the ball to the right guy at the right time. And while you might look at his assist numbers and think he’s a greedy ballhog, it’s probably better to look at his turnovers to put it into context. Lee rarely handles the ball on offense, probably by design, but he also rarely coughs it up. Consider that Randolph and Curry give the ball away two and a half times as often, and you can find another of Lee’s strength on offense.
Sure I know yesterday was one of Lee’s finest games, but from what I’ve seen this season it’s not a big surprise that he had a game of that magnitude. And while Lee isn’t going to dribble past his guy for a two handed flush every time (like he did to Zydrunas), and he’s not going to save the Knicks this year, he’s certainly not the one dimensional Reggie Evans that some Knick fans paint him out to be. New York has been just fine with Lee in the half court on offense, and there is no reason to think otherwise.