Did the Clippers’ list of shooting guards just get one player deeper?
Housekeeping note: Rockets swingman Courtney Lee is now an unrestricted free agent after Rockets withdraw his qualifying offer
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2012
Here is a brief from Kevin Arnovitz explaining Lee’s fit:
Pop quiz: Among players who attempted more than 100 corner-3s this past season, who posted the highest field-goal percentage from that location?
Answer: Courtney Lee of the Houston Rockets.
Lee went 50 for 103 last season in the corners, which is where Vinny Del Negro’s wings tend to be situated an an offense that’s predicated primarily on high pick-and-rolls at the top of the floor and post feeds to Blake Griffin on the block.
The Clippers don’t have a lot of flexibility under the salary cap, which means they’re not going to find that potent “third option” in the free agency market. Truth be told, as the league’s No. 4 offense in 2011-12, the Clippers don’t require a lot of firepower to improve. What they need is some glue — players who can shoot standing still when the defense collapses on Paul or smothers Griffin, and who can do the work on the defensive side of the ball.
Should the Clippers, by happenstance, decide to install a defensive system, Lee would come in handy. As a rookie, he was the starting shooting guard in the league’s stingiest defense under Stan Van Gundy in Orlando. He thrives as both a system and individual defender, can play the ball, cover a good number of NBA small forwards, knows when to help, and understands the science of the NBA rotation.
With the obscene amount of cap space floating around the league this summer, someone could conceivably offer Lee Aaron Afflalo money. Barring that outcome, Lee would fit snugly into the Clippers’ long-term plans with a multi-year, mid-level deal.
The Clippers have enough sex appeal on their roster. What they need now are players who don’t need shots and will work hard to deny opponents theirs. Lee can do that.