Knicks’ Courtney Lee could seriously help another team if traded
Basketball By Louis Spencer JR | August 22, 2018
NBA veteran Courtney Lee was recently left out of an Instagram post by the New York Knicks, which led him to believe he may be traded soon.
Marc Berman reported that the New York wing could be on the move this offseason (via New York Post):
“According to sources, Lee’s status is unclear as the Knicks have looked to deal his contract that has two years and $25 million left on it. While Knicks brass has impressed upon the need to be a leader in 2018-19, he admits he hasn’t spoken to Lee this offseason — another indication the veteran is not paramount in the Knicks’ plans.”
The NBA veteran scored 1.03 points per possession, which ranked Top 25 among all guards who averaged at least 10 total possessions per game last season. Lee is capable of staying on the floor for long stretches, averaging 28.1 minutes per game during his ten-year NBA career.
Aside from three-pointers, he was most effective on his short midrange shots. He ranked in the 89th percentile among all wings in this range, per Cleaning the Glass. When looking at those who had as many attempts between 8 and 16 feet of the basket, only four players had a better field goal percentage than Lee.
As the ballhandler in a pick-and-roll offense, Lee averaged 0.87 PPP. This was hist most-used play type last season, used on more than one-quarter of his total offensive possessions. But it’s hard to imagine this is the role he’d play on a new team.
Lee averaged 1.07 PPP as a spot-up shooter for the Knicks last year, which is likely instead how he would be used most if he were traded to a contender. All teams could benefit from someone who shot over 40.0 percent from the three-point line, which Lee has now done two seasons in a row.
The wing was particularly impressive on guarded catch-and-shoot attempts, averaging 1.19 PPP. This ranked Top 20 among all players (minimum: 75 attempts) last season, per Synergy Sports. If he continued this type of hot streak, he could add legitimate value to a team looking for a shooter.
When he played in a transition offense, meanwhile, the New York wing averaged 1.23 PPP. This would be a big help for rosters like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers, two of the top ten teams in terms of most transition possessions per game.
In addition to those two teams, Lee has also been linked to the Washington Wizards in recent trade rumors. Last season, only one team in the Eastern Conference was more efficient than the Wizards when running a transition offense.
The 32-year-old would be able to slide into the rotation for any of the teams mentioned above.
He was one of the league leaders in free throw percentage accuracy and also committed among the fewest fouls among high-volume contributors. While he’s not the type of player who can make-or-break a run at a championship, Lee still has legitimate value.
The main problem is that Lee is owed more than $12 million per season for the next two seasons, which is a bit higher than most teams would likely be willing to pay. But if a team was willing to shed another asset like a future draft pick with an undesirable contract, Lee could be on the move before the season begins.