Interesting article.....what do u guys think?
kinda glad we didnt trade lee tho. He might earn his money this year.
For the better part of this decade, and especially the last few seasons, there hasn't been a whole lot to cheer about inside Madison Square Garden. And that is putting it kindly. In fact, the soundtrack to most Knick home games had been mostly a cacophony of boos, "Fire Isiah" chants, and other R-rated refrains. And that was just during the pre-game introductions.
However, no matter how gloomy the Garden may have been, there was always at least one hearty, good-natured ovation per game - when David Lee rose from the bench, ripped off his warm-ups and headed towards the scorer's table to check in. Yes, although most Knicks fans were disgusted with so many aspects of the organization (the owner, GM, coach, players, etc.) David Lee still got love from the home folks. On a team that endlessly irritated New York basketball fans with their consistent refusal to play defense or exert the least bit of hustle, Lee stuck out like a sore thumb, which quickly earned him "crowd favorite" status inside the World's Most Famous Arena.
This season, Knicks fans may not have to wait to cheer for Lee; they'll be able to applaud during introduction of the starting lineup. Yes, after coming off the bench for the first three seasons of his NBA career, it appears Lee is going to be installed as a starter.
New coach Mike D'Antoni has inserted Lee as his starting power forward in each of New York's first three preseason games. The results have been remarkably impressive. Heading into Tuesday's game with the Sixers, Lee was averaging 20.5 points and 12 rebounds per contest, while shooting a ridiculous 74% from the floor and 87.5% from the free-throw line.
But for Lee, these early encouraging results are certainly not surprising. After all the work Lee put in this offseason, this is what he envisioned. These are merely the first signs of positive production after a summer full of intense hard work to improve his overall game. Back at media day, on the eve of training camp, Lee told HOOPSWORLD about the hours spent working on his shot and preparing for the run-and-gun style Mike D'Antoni would bring with him from Phoenix.
"I've worked my butt off on my jump shot endlessly this summer," said Lee. "Coach is very excited about my progress. I've got myself in great shape. In the last month and a half I've lost 15 pounds doing these drills with all these guys getting up and down the floor. I was here every day. I started here in mid may. I feel like I'm in great shape."
Lee also focused his workouts, preparing specifically for the type of system D'Antoni prefers. "We're going to use athleticism and quickness more than we have in years past," Lee explained. "Being a guy that wants to be successful I have to adapt to what's happening around me." When asked about where he will fit in, Lee is comfortable as long as he is on the floor. "We'll see where he puts me. Even if I get to 295, a lot of the 5's and 4's, they're just so strong. My advantage has always been my quickness."
Lee further elaborated on the challenges of playing for Coach Mike D. "First of all, it's going to be getting up and down the court, playing in transition for the majority of the game and making quick decisions. I think that is going to be a big plus for what I do. My advantage is going to be speed, rather than playing a grind it out game where you're just wrestling in the post. Other changes will be running a lot of pick and rolls. I did that in college. It's going to come down to making a lot more decisions on the fly and having a feel for the game. It's going to be an adjustment for everybody. For me, I'm going to have to prove I can hit that 15-footer to be most effective. I've worked on that aspect of my game all summer and hopefully I can be effective with it."
And David has done just that thus far. When defenses sag off, Lee has not hesitated popping off a long jumper. When they body him, and try to muscle him up top, he utilizes his quickness and attacks the basket. The statistical results have been very encouraging, to say the least.
Lee was at it again on Tuesday night. Although the Knicks lost to Philadelphia, Lee had another stellar showing. He finished with 7 rebounds and 17 points, connecting on 5 of his 11 FG attempts and all seven of his free-throws. In addition, Lee dished out a game-high 7 assists, with many of his dimes coming off long outlet passes.
With the regular season starting in just a couple of weeks, Lee knows there is great deal of work still left to be done. After Tuesday's loss, he admitted that pace of play took its toll as the game dragged on. "I was energized for about 30 minutes, but those last four or five I was really feeling it," Lee told reporters afterwards.
But Lee is no stranger to hard work, so it is safe to assume he will continue to do whatever it takes to successfully acclimate himself to D'Antoni's demanding pace of play.
Get ready to cheer Knicks fans – D Lee doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon…