Dallas Mavericks Set to Add David Lee
For the third time in the past calendar year, big man David Lee will call a new city his home. Per reports, the star power forward will be latching on with the Dallas Mavericks after reaching a buyout with his most recent team, the Boston Celtics.
Rick Carlisle says the @dallasmavs will sign David Lee on Monday morning and waive John Jenkins. Lee is already in Dallas.
— Earl K. Sneed (@EarlKSneed) February 22, 2016
Lee had fallen out of the rotation in Boston, where the Celtics stacked too many talented big men and ended up not having a use for him. Initially taking on a solid bench role for roughly 15 minutes a game, Lee’s role began to shrink increasingly as Celtics head coach Brad Stevens experimented with different lineups. Amir Johnson and Jared Sullinger ended up being Boston’s top two go-to bigs, with Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Zeller competing for scraps.
With Lee out of the picture, the Celtics decided to set him free after he found himself buried on a playoff contender for the second season in a row. Lee was in the very same situation last year, albeit at a higher level for a Golden State Warriors squad that won the NBA Finals.
Still Has It
There’s no denying that Lee is no longer in his prime at 32 years old (33 in April), but he’s also been kept fresh the past two seasons and as recently as 2013 was averaging an impressive 18 points and 9 rebounds per game with Golden State.
At this point in his career, Lee is what he is; a terrific inside scorer who can hit an open mid range jumper and clean the glass. He’s never been a great defender, but the effort has always been apparent and as a bench option that will clearly be asked to come in and provide a spark offensively in Dallas, being required to defend at a high level won’t be at the top of the list.
Lee gives the Mavs something they’ve lacked this year – a player who can slash in the paint and get easy buckets. Dirk Nowitzki has always been more of a perimeter and mid-range shooter, while center Zaza Pachulia is really the only other Mavs player that has any semblance of an inside game. Lee could give the Mavs the spark they need down low and should prove to be a welcome addition to a fast-paced, up-tempo offense.
At the very worst, Lee presents the Mavs with an extra offensive weapon and enhances their already strong depth. Ideally they’d have another competent center behind Pachulia, but they at least now have a go-to guy behind Nowtizki, when before all they had was the perimeter oriented Charlie Villanueva. Dallas ended up releasing John Jenkins in a correlating move (he impressed in preseason play), but it’s a move that makes good sense with the Mavs stacked on the wing.
Adding Lee doesn’t make the Mavs a title contender, but it may go a long way in solidifying their status as a legit playoff team and could even help them get out of the first round. That should go down as a success, as many felt the Mavs wouldn’t even make the playoffs before the 2015-16 NBA season began.
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