Archive for the ‘Courtney Lee’ Category

The Kid is Alright

June 9, 2009

Not that he needs my help, but I feel the need to come to the rescue of Courtney Lee. It is in no way Lee’s fault that Orlando finds itself in a two games to none hole in the NBA Finals. Comparing his last second alley oop miss to Nick Anderson bricking four free throws in Orlando’s last Finals appearance, as some writers have done, is ludicrous. Lee’s shot was far from an easy layup, and since when did he become the Magic’s go-to guy? Isn’t it enough that a rookie from a small college is being asked to guard the most dangerous scorer in the game – Kobe Bryant – on the sport’s grandest stage? No, the Magic have far graver problems than Courtney Lee’s play.

Like the fact that Dwight Howard has more turnovers than field goals made after the first two games. That is a mind blowing stat. As a friend stated to me in an e-mail after Game 2, “Dwight Howard is no Shaquille O’Neal – not even close”. Truer words have never been spoken (or typed in this instance). Making his first Finals appearance, going up against one of the greatest centers in NBA history – Hakeem Olajuwon – the 23-year-old O’Neal averaged 28 points, 12.5 boards and 6.3 assists. So it goes without saying that Howard is not the second coming of Shaq Attack. Is it unfair to compare Howard to Shaq? If Howard wants to be a championship-level center, then there is no one better to compare him to than Shaq. And if he wants to get himself onto Shaq’s level, then the man needs some post moves. Howard’s big problem in this series is that when he gets the ball in the post he doesn’t immediately attack – he waits and subsequently gets himself double teamed.

Which brings me to the question of whether or not Howard is, or ever will be, a championship-level big man. After his 40 & 14 performance in the close-out game versus Cleveland it certainly looked like he was. But now that the lights are shining brightest – and where legendary players become legends – Howard is shrinking away. It wouldn’t be so much of a concern if the doubts concerning Howard were based just on the past two games. However, his lack of a post game, over reliance on his athleticism and strength, and lack of a “killer instinct” were all knocks on him going into this series. His putrid performance thus far have done nothing to quiet the detractors. And even if he does turn things around the rest of the series, it probably is too late for Orlando, and possibly for his reputation.

So the blame for the Magic squandering a win in Game 2 – on a night when Kobe either wasn’t able or willing to dominate – shouldn’t fall on Courtney Lee’s shoulders. It should fall squarely on Superman’s broad frame.