H: 6' 5"|
W: 200 lbs
(31 Years Old)
|RSCI: 135||Agent: Dan Fegan |
High School: Pike
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Drafted: Pick 22 in 2008 by Magic
Best Case: Anthony Parker
Worst Case: Thabo Sefolosha
Part One: Intangibles
“If you ask Courtney Lee how he can help an NBA franchise next season, his initial answer might surprise you.
‘Off the court I believe I have good character, I carry myself well and I don’t have any baggage.’
While most players are quick to point out their shooting prowess or ability to get the ball into the hands of a star player, Lee takes the more unconventional route by discussing his strength of character.
- Courtney Lee: "We knew we could play with anybody"
May 6, 2008
We’ll begin this installment of rookie retrospectives the same way that Courtney Lee began his interview with us a year ago, by talking about his character. We learned a lot about Lee and saw that he is a unique individual who brings a lot more to a team than any box score could ever show, going about his business the right way and conducting himself similarly to guys like Chauncey Billups or Shane Battier.
Lee rarely complains to the officials, always puts forth the effort, and does exactly what Stan Van Gundy asks of him; he just “gets it”. Starting for a Stan Van Gundy team doesn’t happen too often for a rookie, which speaks volumes of the trust and confidence he has in Lee to get the job done. It’s certainly a testament to Lee’s talent level, but it has a lot to do with his maturity as well and his unselfish nature, which is critical on a team with many elite scorers. He carries himself well on the court, exuding a quiet confidence and a positive demeanor which allows him to shine without taking away from the stars.
Part Two: NBA Role
“He also showed great confidence over the summer going up against Lebron James at his skills academy, showing no fear while displaying his full offensive repertoire. Lee could be a little more dominant against the competition in the Sun Belt Conference if he played a little less passively, and that’s something he could work on showing this season. If he keeps his current pace, though, he should be firmly in draft discussions, possibly even creeping up to the first round if he makes some noticeable strides with his game. His potential is probably that of an 3rd/4th option type player, such as what Anthony Parker plays for the Toronto Raptors.”
- Top NBA Draft Prospects in the 'Other Conferences' (Part One: #1-#5)
October 29, 2007
As high as we were on Courtney Lee after his junior season, perhaps we should have been even higher on him. Eventually drafted at 22, the Magic got a player that will compliment their star Dwight Howard for years to come. Winning organizations always have selfless players like a Bruce Bowen, Raja Bell or Tayshaun Prince, and Lee fits that mold perfectly.
Lee has a simple role on the offensive end and isn’t asked to do much. With Howard anchoring the paint, Van Gundy surrounds their All-NBA first teamer with shooters in order to spread the court and keep the paint open for their star. The majority of their offense consists of post-ups for Howard, high pick and rolls, or isolations from the top of the key for either Hedo Turkoglu or Rashard Lewis. With those sets, Lee is primarily stationed in the corners or roams the perimeter to draw his defender away from the help. He does a terrific job of moving without the ball and flashing to open areas when the defense rotates to help or doubles up on the post.
On the defensive end (which will be examined further in Part 5), Lee is often asked to guard the opposing team’s best perimeter player. His size at 6’5 and slight frame was a concern coming in to the league, but Lee’s toughness and good lateral quickness has turned him into a defensive hound.
Part Three: Shooting - Spot ups and off the Dribble
“Most of Lee’s offense is based around his jump shot, showing close to textbook form, aside from a slight tendency to push the ball forward at times, which really isn’t much of an issue. His form is consistent, his release speed good, and his release point high, which is a large reason he shot so well as the focal point of his team’s offense. “
- Top NBA Draft Prospects in the 'Other Conferences' (Part One: #1-#5)
October 29, 2007
“A part of Lee’s game that continues to show tremendous potential as far as the NBA is concerned is his pull-up jumper. When Gonzaga decided to go underneath the screen defending the pick and roll, Lee punished them instantaneously by pulling up fluidly from behind the arc and creating excellent separation from his defender by elevating off the floor for his picture perfect jump-shot. He then proceeded to do the same on two more occasions, this time from mid-range, showing an uncanny resemblance to DraftExpress favorite Anthony Parker in the process.”
- NCAA Weekly Performers, 12/05/2007 -- Part One
One of the main reasons for Lee’s insertion into the starting line-up and his 25.3 minutes per game (13th amongst rookies) is because of his ability to shoot the ball, especially spotting up, which is essential in this offense. Lee is shooting 40.9% from behind the arc, which is 3rd amongst rookies and 34th overall in the NBA. He displays nice mechanics and does an excellent job of setting his feet. He doesn’t have the quickest release, but his preparation before he receives the ball and his lack of wasted motion on the catch enables him to get his shot off. He’s always on balance with his feet under him and he elevates forward, carrying his momentum and his shot to the basket. This is important for him because almost all of his misses fall short, and this movement assures the necessary arc on the ball.
Off the dribble, Lee has had less success, but he’s also had fewer opportunities. When he looks to create for himself and pull-up, he shows the ability to get to his spot quickly and with great fluidity – although he’s not converting on those chances at a great rate thus far. Lee is currently shooting 38.6% as a jump shooter off the dribble according to Synergy Sports Technology, a percentage that is solid, but will surely increase as his career progresses. The lack of success in this part of his game could be a result of his new role. At Western Kentucky, he had the green light to pull-up whenever he pleased, whereas in Orlando, he’s the 4th or 5th option on the court, and thus the ball isn’t coming his way on every possession.
Courtney Lee was really the only notable performer on this extremely overmatched Orlando team, as they just did not have the horses to keep up with Oklahoma City’s three top-5 picks. Lee was outstanding in his own right, though, doing a fantastic job all game long utilizing the pick and roll, and being incredible aggressive putting the ball on the floor and making his way to the rim. What was interesting was that he started off the game looking more to facilitate and play his role within Orlando’s half-court offense, picking and choosing his spots wisely and not forcing the issue in the least bit. As the game wore on and things deteriorated for his team he started to take over much more, finishing the game was an impressive 27 points on 8/14 shooting.
His range appears to easily extend beyond the NBA arc already, and he looked very comfortable spotting up and knocking down all 3 of the attempts he took as the ball rotated in his direction. He also drove and finished with both hands equally well (always using the glass intelligently, or sometimes with a crafty floater) and did not hesitate in the least bit to pull-up off the dribble from mid-range if his defender cheated and went underneath the screen. Defensively he tried in vain to keep up with Kevin Durant—contesting his shot nicely but to no avail due to his incredible size and length, but found success on other players, getting in the passing lanes and putting a good deal of effort in as usual.
Courtney Lee- From what we could see here, Courtney Lee is very likely going to impress a lot of people with the way he’ll look in private workouts. Physically, he’s in excellent shape, with a superb frame, excellent fluidity, and looking very impressive getting off his feet with his extremely quick initial bounce. We’ve raised some question marks about his overall athleticism in the past—but that did not seem to look like much of an issue here—especially with the way he was jumping. He was the most natural player of the bunch in everything related to the jab-steps and shot-creating tools, able to sell his moves almost effortlessly and looking extremely polished in all the various skill-work he did.
He shot the ball extremely well in the drills, displaying picture perfect form and no longer bringing the ball down before going into his shot the way he had a tendency to do during the season. Off the court, he’s almost just as impressive—well-spoken, humble, confident, and obviously very intelligent. We couldn’t really evaluate some of the things we have question marks about—for example how he will fare in a pure one on one setting against a long, athletic defender having to create his own shot excessively using advanced ball-handling moves, as well as some of the issues regarding the passivity he displays from time to time—but he showed enough in other areas here to have left an extremely strong impression.
If you ask Courtney Lee how he can help an NBA franchise next season, his initial answer might surprise you.
“Off the court I believe I have good character, I carry myself well and I don’t have any baggage.”
While most players are quick to point out their shooting prowess or ability to get the ball into the hands of a star player, Lee takes the more unconventional route by discussing his strength of character. This response may seem a bit out of place in today’s professional basketball, but if you understand where Lee’s story begins, his answer becomes a little clearer.
Having already profiled Courtney Lee’s strengths and weaknesses in extreme depth (just click on his name if you haven’t already done so) just a few weeks ago, we’ll offer up the following progress report. Lee seems to have made a very nice progression on some very key parts to his game, making him one of the most impressive early-season performers in all of college basketball. This year’s freshman class is getting most of the hype at the moment, but Lee is averaging 24 points per game in 28 minutes shooting 58% from the field, and his team is playing outstanding basketball.
One of the issues we had with Lee in the past was the fact that he often looked perfectly content being a role player despite being in a situation at Western Kentucky that obviously demanded of him to be much more. That certain lack of aggressiveness was nowhere to be found in the two games we watched early on in the season, as Lee has been taking his team on his back whenever the situation called for it, and has looked excellent doing so. He’s shown a lot of character in the process, stepping up to make big plays on a number of occasions, particularly down the stretch.
Most impressive might be the way he’s putting the ball on the floor and creating shots for both himself and others. He’s handling the ball well with either hand, showing no hesitation going to the basket, and even executing advanced ball-handling moves like splitting traps off the pick and roll before dropping in a beautiful floater, complete with excellent body control. Never one to force the issue (his patience and maturity is really unique), Lee did a terrific job finding teammates for open looks on the drive and dish too, even if they did a poor job finishing. His unselfishness is pretty uncommon for a mid-major draft prospect, particularly a talented scorer.
A part of Lee’s game that continues to show tremendous potential as far as the NBA is concerned is his pull-up jumper. When Gonzaga decided to go underneath the screen defending the pick and roll, Lee punished them instantaneously by pulling up fluidly from behind the arc and creating excellent separation from his defender by elevating off the floor for his picture perfect jump-shot. He then proceeded to do the same on two more occasions, this time from mid-range, showing an uncanny resemblance to DraftExpress favorite Anthony Parker in the process.
Defensively, Lee’s team plays a lot of zone, making him a little tougher to evaluate, but you could clearly see how intelligent he is with everything that has to do with awareness and positioning on this end of the floor. In the man to man setting, he puts really nice pressure on the ball, and has really pesky hands, as his 3.2 steals per game this year so far would indicate. He’s even blocking a decent amount of shots, thanks to his superb timing, activity level, and also his nice physical profile (he has an NBA body already.)
As far as the draft is concerned, it’s clearly way too early to make any sweeping judgments, but we’re having somewhat of a hard time figuring out what exactly might keep him out of the first round. Lee has been discussed and ranked exclusively on DraftExpress since his freshman season, but he’s really starting to take his game to the next level, despite the conference he plays in (the Sun Belt). Maybe he lacks a slight bit of explosiveness creating his own shot or finishing at the rim, nothing chronic, but he really seems to be making a terrific case for him early on in the season so far. We’ll obviously be back to check on his progress as the year moves on.
After three strong, efficient seasons at Western Kentucky, Courtney Lee seems primed to step into NBA draft discussions, especially after an impressive showing at the Lebron James Skills Academy this past summer. The 6’5 (maybe 6’6) wingman averaged 17 points on 47% shooting and 40% from behind the arc as a junior for the Hilltoppers, almost duplicating his numbers as a sophomore. With his solid athleticism and high basketball IQ, Lee brings an all-around scoring game to the table from the wing.
Most of Lee’s offense is based around his jump shot, showing close to textbook form, aside from a slight tendency to push the ball forward at times, which really isn’t much of an issue. His form is consistent, his release speed good, and his release point high, which is a large reason he shot so well as the focal point of his team’s offense. More impressive than his general form, though, is Lee’s body control when shooting off the dribble, something he does very well from the 15-20 feet area. Lee can shoot the ball pulling up going to his left and his right, showing good footwork and requiring very little separation to get his shot off, rarely having it altered by the defender. His body control is excellent when pulling up, and he has good enough ball-handling to consistently create his shot against Western Kentucky’s competition. Lee is also good spotting up from behind the three-point arc, which he does in transition and in the half-court. In the half-court, Lee does a good job working to get open without the ball, changing directions well to get separation from his defender.
Lee’s offense isn’t limited to his jump shot, though, as he has average ball-handling skills for a wing, and can take the ball to the basket with either hand adequately well. Lee strangely prefers going to his left with the ball even though he’s a righty, showing more confidence and a more controlled dribble going in that direction. When he takes the ball to the basket, he shows very good body control and ability to adjust in mid-air, also taking contact well when necessary with his well-built frame. Lee doesn’t rely on going to the basket much, though, as he’s more effective from the perimeter and his ball-handling is good, not great. He doesn’t really change directions well with his dribble in the lane, though he has a nice crossover he can use in space on the perimeter. Lee also does have a nice floater from around 10 feet that sometimes looks like it’s a half jump-shot, which he gets off quickly and easily. His overall scoring game is very reminiscent of Brandon Roy’s, though he clearly lacks Roy’s point guard skills.
Lee’s best offensive attributes definitely come in terms of scoring the ball, and that’s what he’s asked to do for his team, but he shows the ability to contribute in other ways as well. He’s a solid passer, not being selfish with the ball, and will move the ball well in the flow of an offense, finding open shots on the perimeter or feeding the post. He doesn’t have any real point guard skills in him, but he’s a solid passer for a wing. He also can contribute on the glass with his athleticism and length, going up in a crowd to pull down a rebound. In transition, Lee runs the floor well and finishes with some nice moves at the rim, showing off vertical explosiveness on occasion.
On the defensive end, Lee has great raw tools and a solid fundamental base, getting into a good defensive stance and almost always playing up on his man in man-to-man defense. He shows good lateral quickness and instincts as well, though he’s not a lockdown defender, as he can be beat. He also uses his length and athleticism to disrupt in the passing lanes, averaging 1.5 steals this past season and 2.6 the season before. The biggest gripe to be had with his defense at this stage is that he can get caught out of position when his man doesn’t have the ball, but he’s not much worse there than the average 22-year-old prospect.
Despite mostly playing against weak competition in the NCAA, Lee has shown plenty of signs that his ability can translate to the NBA. Against better competition this season, including Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Southern Illinois, Lee’s production didn’t dip at all, and he got off his shot with the same ease against their defenses. He also showed great confidence over the summer going up against Lebron James at his skills academy, showing no fear while displaying his full offensive repertoire. Lee could be a little more dominant against the competition in the Sun Belt Conference if he played a little less passively, and that’s something he could work on showing this season. If he keeps his current pace, though, he should be firmly in draft discussions, possibly even creeping up to the first round if he makes some noticeable strides with his game. His potential is probably that of an 3rd/4th option type player, such as what Anthony Parker plays for the Toronto Raptors.
Sun Belt star Courtney Lee did not face the fiercest of competition this past season at Western Kentucky, but don’t tell him that. He was absolutely fearless going up against LeBron James, attacking the Cavaliers guard at every available opportunity. Those in attendance could not stop gawking about the confidence that this small school guard had going up against arguably the best player the NBA has to offer. Lee shot the ball with consistency from beyond the three-point arc, displayed a nice pull-up jumper, and got to the rim via his explosive first step. He did not seem to be playing the strongest defense here, but his offensive prowess more than made up for that.[Read Full Article]
Lee is a smooth athlete with good quickness, and an NBA body. He displayed some of his athleticism against Southern Illinois on a put-back dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. Lee has very nice form on his jumper to go with good elevation, and a quick release. He can shoot it out to NBA range, and generates most of his points from off the dribble jumpers at the college level. Against Southern Illinois, Lee displayed promising potential on the defensive end as well. In addition to staying in front of his man, he also disrupted the passing lanes, and generated 5 steals. A lot of players who steal a lot of passes do so while gambling a lot, which costs them defensive position, but this isn’t the case at all with Lee. He displays good confidence on the floor, but is a very unselfish player.
The main weakness for Lee at this point is the fact that he isn’t a great slasher going to the basket. His ball handling could use some work as well, though it works fine for the competition he is facing now. For a player averaging 19 points per game and shooting over 53% from the field, you’d expect Lee to look for his own shot more often than he currently does. This is fine for someone who will be a role-player at the NBA level, but in college he needs to carry his team.
At the NBA level, Lee projects to be a nice role player with a solid all-around game. He doesn’t have the best upside in the world, but he is the type of guy who will make a team happy to get a contributor in the second round. To best help his draft stock, Lee will need to lead Western Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament this season. They have one of the stronger teams in the Sunbelt, but they will face tough competition from South Alabama, who made the tournament a year ago, as well as North Texas. As a junior, Lee is likely to test the waters this year and enter his name into the draft. If he continues to produce at the same level for the rest of the season, Courtney Lee will find himself in the early to mid-second round at least.