Lee is the new M2GWDAS of choice for many here, now that we can get him for the MLE and he's theoretically better than Keith Bogans. But is he really good enough to man the SG spot for us?
In a word: no, I don't think so.
First: here are a bunch of scouting reports on Lee.
- The most recent: ["He's Nick Young but not stupid! At least, looking at his shot selection."]
- An earlier one, from when he arrived in Houston [The Dream Shake, by the way, is a pretty good blog]
- Finally, Courtney Lee's stats, as per Basketball-Reference.com.
Look at the win shares. He had win shares of barely over .100 [which is an average player] for Orlando. Then his win shares tanked in New Jersey before rising a little bit with the Rockets. But his game has been relatively consistent throughout his career, with no real growth - either positive or negative. Every year, he's scored between 12 and 14 points per 36. Taking away the New Jersey outlier, he's shot 40% or better every year from 3. His overall FG% is slightly better than his 3 point percentage, and has been 45% or lower every year. He doesn't rebound well, even for a guard: his assist to turnover ratio hovers around 1.5: he doesn't foul often. The Dream Shake compared him to "a worse Battier". and I'd say that's pretty accurate: he can't create his own shot, he can hit threes, and he is a decent, not great, defender.
More: this from nets are scorching [which google says "may be compromised": you've been warned]. Back when he showed so much promise - he did a bunch of smart things, but nothing well in particular.
For reference, a slow and fairly old Shane Battier held SG's to a PER of under 10 and SF's to a PER of 12.5. That 15.0 mark was Lee with the Magic: this year he held SG's to a 12.6 and SF's to a ... 21. So Lee's defense is still worse than Battier's, but his offense is also slightly better. He's a net negative on PER and isn't good at creating his own shot.
So why don't I like Lee as an addition to our team? For one, his growth curve isn't really a curve at all: it's a straight line. [The PER change is tempered by his second season - worse! - and then his third, which was average again. You can assume he's getting better on defense - I would be a little wary about that, and in any case it must means that he's working his way towards being a net average player if it does signify growth.] He's the exact same player he was four years ago: odds are what you see is what you get. And what you see is, for lack of a better comparison, a slightly better Keith Bogans.
It's universally agreed that what the Bulls need is a second creator: at the end of games against Miami the year before last year, and in the playoffs against the 76ers this year [especially after Derrick was injured], our inability to get good shots was exploited time and time again. [Granted, the 76ers and Heat are really good at defense, but the championship goes through the Heat at this point.]
That said, is a better Bogans going to put us over the top? We were really close to beating Miami two years ago: Bosh has gotten better and we won't have Asik anymore. All i can say without seeing the games play out is ... maybe? But it isn't a leap for us; it balances out with Asik's loss to be, at best, a maintaining of the status quo. And the status quo here is not getting to the NBA Finals. Nobody's happy with that. Courtney Lee was there before, and he played well, though not spectacularly; he'd probably play that well again. is it enough? Especially if we let go of Korver and Brewer? I'll just say this: I doubt it.
Obviously we aren't getting a savior with the MLE, but Lee does not seem like a large upgrade. At this point, maybe we should just hold on to our dollars and get a bunch of one-year vet min players: save the tax and we'll be able to compete more next year. [Though, with Boozer's contract, we may have to wait until 2015.]