Through the first 11 games this season (or 9 for Lee as he missed 2 games for concussion protocol), Courtney Lee was shooting 51.1% from the field and 62.1% on three-pointers. Both are pretty blistering numbers, especially the high clip from 3.
After the first few games, we began speaking about how he's due to regress back to something closer to his career averages of 45% FG shooting and 38% 3P shooting. And as Chip Williams and I discussed on GBBLive, we prayed that it would be a gradual reacclimation, one that allowed the Grizzlies to still thrive on the spacing that Lee provides.
Well, I've got news for you. Ever since Lee (and several others) missed the game in Toronto with a stomach virus, he has been making a slow regression back to a level that might be sustainable. In the past 5 contests, he has shot 46.5% from the field and 41.2% from three. Those are much more pedestrian numbers when compared to what we saw from Lee coming out of the gate, but it's still exactly what the Grizzlies need.
|First 11 games||51.1||62.1|
|Last 5 games||46.5||41.2|
Even with a dip in shooting, CLee is still averaging doubt-digit scoring during his mild regression. He's taking very smart shots and playing within Joerger's scheme, a scheme that's growing in efficiency as the season progresses.
We don't know for sure if this is the settling point for Lee, but I am reluctant to declare that he'll continue to regress to the point at which his season numbers mirror his career averages. It's possible that Lee just had a really fantastic start, and that the most recent five games allowed him to work slowly back into sustainable production. For instance, with the most recent game at Sacramento, the Grizzlies can absorb an 0-2 beyond-the-arc game from Courtney Lee when he still makes 5/9 inside the arc and finds ways to get to the free throw line. And if the Grizzlies keep finding ways to get Lee uncontested shots, well, he's definitely got a chance to stay around his current level of play.
Lee is growing into a natural cog for Memphis, and if he can continue to be the player he's been in the last five games, a player who is prolific but not superhuman, the Grizzlies should still maintain the ability to produce a top 15 offense in the NBA.