WHITE PLAINS, NEW YORK — He may not post numbers that warrant All-Star consideration, but Courtney Lee has been a coveted NBA shooting guard throughout his eight-year NBA career.
Carmelo mentioned Courtney Lee – who Melo says "nobody really talks about" – as a big piece for NYK because he "does the little things."
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 26, 2016
Lee declined multiple, reportedly more lucrative offers to join the New York Knicks on a four-year deal worth $48 million. Knicks captain Carmelo Anthony was particularly high on Lee’s value to the team.
“A guy who nobody really speaks about is Courtney Lee,” Anthony said during the Knicks’ Media Day at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in White Plains, N.Y. “I think he’s going to be a great addition to this team. A guy who just comes in and does all the little things. Do multiple things out there on the basketball court that a lot of people don’t talk about.”
Lee, who turns 31 on Oct. 3, averaged 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season with the Charlotte Hornets, exactly on par with his career numbers. He was the least talked-about addition of a New York roster overhaul that included a trade for Derrick Rose and free agent contracts for Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings.
Asked if he felt overlooked because he doesn’t post eye-popping stats, Lee pointed to the longevity of his career.
“Not really, man, because I’m still in the league,” he said. “Being in the NBA nine years, that’s a blessing. There’s a lot of guys that come in that are All-Star caliber players, and some of them are already out of the league.
“I just think just being able to have longevity proves my value, so I’m still blessed.”
Lee fills a void left by Arron Afflalo, who opted out of the second year of his Knicks contract to sign a deal with the Sacramento Kings this summer. He looks to use his defense to create early offense for his teammates.
“Just going out there and competing on both ends of the court, especially the defensive end,” Lee said. “Go out there and get a stop, get a steal that leads to a fast break and that excitement on the other end on the offensive end.