BOSTON – After helping the Golden State Warriors win an NBA title last season, David Lee and his Warriors teammates went to Las Vegas where Lee reportedly footed the bill.
“He was nice to do that,” Warriors center Andrew Bogut said in an interview with GQ Australia. “We could bring plus two or three … it was the craziest party you’ll ever see.”
Now a Boston Celtic, Lee has shown similar leadership skills in organizing a players-only dinner in the preseason while in Italy.
Leadership skills are important, obviously.
But so is playing well, something Lee did not do the first few games this season.
After a slow start, Lee appears to have found his stride which bodes well for Boston (3-4) heading into tonight’s game against an Atlanta Hawks team which has opened the season with an 8-2 record with only one team (Cleveland, 7-1) in the East having a better record.
“These last three, four games, I feel I got my rhythm back now after a slow start at both ends,” Lee said. “I just feel like I’m not tired out there; I feel I caught my wind and the ball is starting to go in the basket. Just try and play my minutes to the best, and try and earn more minutes.”
In Boston’s first three games, Lee averaged 5.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting a woeful 5-for-20 from the field.
Lee has been a different player ever since, averaging 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists while shooting 63.6 percent from the field in the last four games.
Just as impressive has been Lee’s ability to put up better numbers despite playing fewer minutes (he has averaged 17 minutes in the last four games, 20 minutes in the first three).
Lee began the season in the starting lineup, but his struggles ultimately led to head coach Brad Stevens going in a different direction and replacing him with Amir Johnson.
“I didn’t have the best start to the first three or four games,” Lee admitted. “But I feel I’m in a real good rhythm now. I’m ready to be out there playing and help the team.”
He will get that opportunity tonight against a Hawks team that features a pair of all-stars in the frontcourt in Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
Lee will play, but how much will depend heavily on how big an impact he makes when he gets on the floor.
“Just try and play my minutes to the best,” Lee said, adding, “and try and earn more minutes.”