One of the reasons the Boston Celtics are still on the short list of title contenders is that their bench was significantly bolstered during the offseason.
So much so that when it comes to figuring out who will deliver big among the second unit players, the list of candidates is as deep as we've seen under Doc Rivers.
The safe bet would be to go with Jason Terry, who will reprise a role in Boston that's identical to the one he had - and thrived in - with the Dallas Mavericks.
But the difference-maker for the Celtics this year off the bench will be Courtney Lee. He will begin the season starting in place of an injured Avery Bradley, but Lee understands that his primary role for the C's will be coming off the bench.
And it is a role that Lee should thrive in.
His versatility allows him to play in the backcourt and not be a defensive liability. At his size, he has the length to guard both backcourt positions which should take some of the pressure off of Rajon Rondo or whoever is running the point at that time.
Lee has shot 40-percent or better in three of his four NBA seasons, which includes him shooting 48.5 percent on corner 3s which ranked among the league's best. In addition, his best 3-point shooting quarter last season?
That would be the fourth quarter which is a good thing when you consider the player he is helping the C's move on from - Ray Allen - was often at his best in the final period of play.
Lee will also benefit from a C's squad that will look to run more than they have in the past, which will inevitably result in greater use of the small-ball lineup we saw at times last season. That could result in Lee playing more minutes, possibly at small forward depending on which players their opponents trot on to the floor.
Having that versatility is what gives him an edge in terms of potential minutes over Terry who can play both backcourt positions.
While Lee has quietly gone about establishing himself as a better-than-average 3-point shooter, he's no stranger to attacking the basket. Last season, 32.6 percent of his shots were in the paint or the restricted area which is bump in comparison to former Celtic Ray Allen who took 25.2 percent of his shots from that distance.
So in Lee the Celtics have a player who attacks the rim more, has a steady 3-point shot and gives them some options in terms of what they can do defensively.
And being a "young veteran," Lee (he turns 27 next month) understands that his role will fluctuate between that of a part-time starter and that of a key reserve.
But when all is said and done, the latter is the best role for both Lee and the Celtics moving forward.