Courtney Lee went from having the second-best scoring season of his career, 12 points per game (that’s a lot, did anyone realize he was scoring that much??????), to having his worst, a mere 4 points per game. Part of the reason for this sharp decline is that the Knicks quickly figured out that they weren’t going to be winning much this season. And a veteran like Lee, who is good-ish but not great, found himself barely in the rotation even when he did come back from his injury. That injury didn’t help his case, but even if he was perfectly healthy, why would the Knicks waste their time with a guy who isn’t in their future and might accidentally win them some games?
If he was hoping that a trade to Dallas might resurrect his season, he was being too optimistic. It’s been about as bad for him with the Mavericks as it had been with the Knicks, maybe worse, somehow. Once again, he found himself in a place where there was no real reason for him to play, and now I’m wondering if there was even one team out of the 30 in the league where he’d get a real role. Probably the Suns, yeah, let’s say the Suns.
But the end of the regular season brings hope to those who haven’t had it, brings minutes to the unminuted. Everything gets weird around this time, rotations become nonsensical, and in this case, the end result is an absolute statistical bonanza from Lee. He basically got a 20-10 double-double, if you consider that he should’ve been awarded five assists instead of one for getting a dunk for Dirk Nowitzki.
The Mavericks are on the hook to pay Lee 12 million this season as well as next, which is a frickin’ TON of money for the non-production they were getting from him. If nothing else, this performance should bring some hope that maybe he can be a marginal role-player for them instead of a DNP-collecting four-limbed trash receptacle.