New Celtic Lee does the fitting in with his game


New Celtic Lee does the fitting in with his game

WALTHAM, Mass. Courtney Lee is no different than most players who join the Boston Celtics.

He wants to fit in.

But as he soon found out, the best way to fit in is to simply play your game.

That's exactly what Lee did in Boston's 30-point blowout win over EA7 Emporio Armani in Milan, a far different kind of performance than the one he delivered in Boston's six-point loss to Fenerbahce Ulker in Istanbul.

"That first game, I was worried too much about fitting in, trying to get to the chemistry right away, kind of watching instead of going out there and playing my game," Lee told "After the first game, Coach Doc Rivers came to me and just said be aggressive. I need you to attack on the defensive and offensive end. Once I heard that, that's how I went into the second game."

While Rivers' spiel certainly helped, there was never a point in which he was concerned about Lee getting down to playing his game.

For starters, it's still early in training camp.

And Lee has proven throughout his career that he can adjust to playing with new teammates, very quickly.

Drafted with the No. 22 pick in the 2008 draft out of Western Kentucky, Lee has played for three different teams in his four NBA seasons. In that span, he has started 47 percent of the time with career averages of 10 points per game.

"I think early on he was trying to be invisible or whatever," Rivers told "But he's been good."

Lee's initial play was similar to that of Jeff Green in 2011 when Green was acquired via trade from Oklahoma City.

Like Lee, Green also tried too hard to fit in rather than play the way he's accustomed to playing.

Green appeared in 26 games for the C's, but never had the kind of impact he or the Celtics were expecting.

However, it doesn't appear that it will take Lee that long to get over trying too hard to fit in.

"They got a system in play," Lee said. "You want to make sure you understand it. You don't want to be doing the wrong things out there. But at the same time, I have to be me and play the way I know how to play. I'm getting there."

Paul Pierce said fitting in with the Celtics to some degree depends on a player's level of experience.

"For a young player, it's sometimes best to sit back and listen," Pierce said. "Understand what's going on, listening to the vets, kind of follow our lead."

For young veterans like Lee, they are beyond trying to prove that they can play in the NBA.

Their mindset has more to do with winning games, than winning over their new teammates.

"They got their contracts. At this point, they want to win," Pierce said. "We know they could probably do more in other places than what they do here, but these guys understand the sacrifice that's needed. They want to win a championship. That's great to have guys like that."

Five reasons standing pat may be Celtics' best move


Five reasons standing pat may be Celtics' best move

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Report: Pacers taking offers for Paul George

Report: Pacers taking offers for Paul George

In a good example of both strong reporting and stating the obvious, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Wednesday that the Pacers are “gauging the trade market on All-Star forward Paul George.”

The only team mentioned in Wojnarowski’s piece as a suitor via trade is the Celtics. Wojnarowski writes that if the Pacers trade the 26-year-old George to Boston, they might be motivated to do it sooner to make sure the C’s don’t move those assets to Chicago for Jimmy Butler first. 

Writes Wojnarowski: 

The Pacers are working the trade deadline on parallel fronts: Pursuing deals that will bring talent into Indiana to sell George on signing a long-term extension -- and soliciting deal offers on George that would signal a rebuild around center Myles Turner, league sources told The Vertical.

Ultimately, the Pacers will have to evaluate the two paths and make a decision before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline. There’s no urgency to make a deal for George, unless the Pacers fear the Boston Celtics could ultimately provide Indiana the best possible package of assets in a deal -- and think that option could disappear if Boston makes a deal with Chicago for Jimmy Butler.

A 6-foot-9 small forward, George is averaging 22.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season. 

George’s contract expires after the 2017-18 season, which is also when Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart will be due for new contracts. Wojnarowski writes that trading for the California native would put the team at risk of potentially losing him as a free agent to the Lakers. 

Teams trading for George run the risk of losing the four-time All-Star to a Lakers franchise that will have the salary-cap space to sign him in 2018. The Lakers’ hiring of Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations will be an interesting twist to George’s free-agent recruitment, given that Johnson has been something of a George family icon going back to George’s childhood in nearby Palmdale, Calif.