Courtney Lee: Grizzlies Offensive Assassin!

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Marc Gasol is the leading scorer for the Grizzlies and rightfully so, he has been getting the most attention. We love the aggressive Marc Gasol. Zach Randolph has also had his fair share of attention due to his scoring and rebounding; Zbo has been averaging double doubles in 4 of the 5 games the Grizzlies have played. This brings me to Courtney Lee and everyone should take notice. In this piece, I will attempt to explain why no one should be sleeping on the offensive prowess of C-Lee this season.

In the 2.5 games Lee has played this season, he has averaged 16 points per game. He’s the team leader in 2 offensive categories: field goal percentage and three point shooting.  He has been more proficient shooting the three. He has shot 60% from the field and has shot 70% from beyond the arc.

Take a look at his highlights in the Grizzlies last game against the Phoenix Suns:

He was 9/14 from the field and 4-5 from the three point line. He scored a season high 22 points, 2 steals and recorded the lone block for the Grizzlies.

He has scored in double figures in every game he played this season. He missed 2.5 games due to a concussion he suffered due to Roy Hibbert’s knee (I say 2.5 because he played in the Pacers game and left the game due to injury in the 2nd quarter). He scored 12 points that game. The Grizzlies were fortunate he only missed 2 games.

In the full 2 games Lee has started, the Grizzlies have shot 50% or more. The games he was out, they struggled mightily offensively. We all remember the horrible offensive showing against the Charlotte Hornets; the final score of that game was 71-69. And yes, they played 48 minutes! Here’s the recap of that game:  http://www.allheartinhoopcity.com/memphis-grizzlies-vs-charlotte-hornets-the-win-that-almost-wasnt/.  Grizzlies shot a dreadful 36.3 percent that night!! Geez, that was a horrible, horrible game to watch. Thankfully, Grizz won that game.

Here’s an excerpt from the article Peter Edmiston’s Numbers Game: On Gasol, Lee and that Griz D by author Peter Edmiston of The Commercial Appeal: http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/grizzlies/peter-edmistons-numbers-game-on-gasol-lee-and-that-griz-d

LEE THE MVP?

There is one other factor to this terrific Grizzlies start that needs to be mentioned, and that’s the phenomenal play of Courtney Lee. Lee’s missed about half the five-game season with a concussion, but when he’s played, he’s been off-the-charts great. Among starting wing players this season, only Houston’s Trevor Ariza has a higher true shooting percentage than Lee’s 74.5 percent.

Lee’s shooting a stunning 78 percent on catch-and-shoot threes, best mark in the NBA among players who are averaging 3 or more per game. The Grizzlies move the ball well, and with teams focusing on Randolph and Gasol inside, Lee’s getting a lot of open looks. In fact, 23 of Lee’s 30 shot attempts this year have come with a defender three feet or further away from him. The difference in the Grizzlies offense when Lee is on the floor and when he is not is absolutely unbelievable.

GRIZZLIES WITH LEE ON THE FLOOR:

Team Field Goal Percentage: 53.6 percent
Team Three Point Percentage: 43.8 percent
Points Scored per 48 Minutes: 110
Assists per 48 Minutes: 25.9
Offensive Rating: 116.5

GRIZZLIES WITHOUT LEE ON THE FLOOR:

Team Field Goal Percentage: 39.4 percent
Team Three Point Percentage: 29.5 percent
Points Scored per 48 Minutes: 83.6
Assists per 48 Minutes: 16.7
Offensive Rating: 88.5

When he’s playing at this level, Lee completely changes what the Grizzlies are capable of on offense. And given the offensive struggles of the wing players who have to replace him when he’s out, keeping Lee healthy and playing is vital to the Grizzlies success.

 

My only gripe with him is that he doesn’t attack the basket more. He’s the Grizzlies best free throw shooter and I think he should try to draw fouls to get to the line. Other than that, he has a smooth jumper that’s money most of the time!! I will continue to love to hear Rick Trotter say “C Lee for T H R E E!!!

No one has expected this offensive potency from Courtney Lee this early in the season. GrizzNation hopes he will continue to be an offensive juggernaut for the team. The offense is a lot better when he’s on the floor. He’s playing above his career average at this point and it will be very,very beneficial to the Grizzlies if he continues that trend. He’s been playing extremely well on defense too.

Keep grinding Courtney. I just only hope he can pass his offensive touch on to the bench.

Sharon Brown
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