A trip straight through Memory Lane part 3

November 25, 2009

Three the Hardway

Part 3 of 3- The epitome of hustle player, David Lee is what I would like to call a blue-collar worker. He never complains about his role, playing the center position despite his size disadvantage and night in night out you can expect him to compete. Lee may have been the catch of the 2005 NBA draft when the New York Knicks selected him with the 30th and final pick of the first round.

David is a native of St. Louis Missouri and played AAU basketball with current teammate and St. Louis product Larry Hughes. Naturally left-handed, Lee broke his arm as a teen and learned how to use his right hand becoming ambidextrous. He attended Chaminade preparatory high school and was selected as a 2001 McDonald’s all-american, where he also won the slam dunk contest.

He entered college at the University of Florida in the fall of 2001 and played under former Knickerbocker Billy Donovan. In a four-year career as a Gator, David finished in the top 15 of career scoring (11.3), eighth in double-doubles (22), fifth in career field goal percentage (.581%) and sixth in blocked shots (109). He led Florida in field goal percentage in each of his four seasons and rebounds in his last three.

Lee as a Knickerbocker

He became a full-time starter as a sophomore and averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds over his 127 game career as a collegian. He made four trips to the NCAA tournament and averaged 15 points and 6 rebounds, he was one year removed from Florida in 2006 when his former teammates beat UCLA for the national title, 73-57 in Indiana.

David at Florida

The Knicks recognizing Lee’s talent picked him up with the last pick of the first round joining rookies Nate Robinson and Channing Frye. He immediately became a fan favorite at the Garden playing power forward and won fans over by his hard-nosed play and hustle on the court, reminiscent of Charles Oakley. He appeared in 67 games in his first year and did not miss a game due to illness or injury, he averaged 5 points and 5 rebounds per game and also set a team rookie franchise record in field goal percentage shooting .596%.

Entering his second year as a pro, Lee was a prime candidate to win the NBA’s sixth man award until he injured his leg late in the season. He averaged 11 points per game and led his team in rebounding with 10 per game, he ended up placing fourth in sixth man voting with the award going to Leandro Barbosa. That year David was selected to play in the rookie versus sophomore challenge during the all-star weekend in Las Vegas. He dominated and won the games MVP award  not missing one shot on 14 for 14 shooting, scoring 30 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Lee continued to develop into a major contributor off the bench for the Knicks in the 07′-08′ season. He set career highs in most major categories, including minutes, points per game, and rebounds per game.

Nate the Great and D Lee

In his fourth year as a Knick, David proved to be one of the NBA’s most consistent players. He recorded a league leading 65 double doubles with 24 of them coming in consecutive games, edging out Orlando’s Dwight Howard. On Nov. 29,  Lee turned in a virtuoso performance over the Warriors with career-highs of 37 points (16-29 FGA, 5-8 FTA) and 21 rebounds (eight offensive). He became first Knick to record a 30/20 game since Patrick Ewing on Feb. 23, 1997 at the Lakers (34 points, 25 rebounds in 2OT); and first to do it in a regulation (non-OT) game since Ewing on Jan. 23, 1994 vs. Sixers (36 points, 21 rebounds). He wrapped up the season averaging 16 points per game along with 12.7 rebounds, he undeniably had his break out season as a professional.

David is currently playing on a one year contract with the Knicks and will become an unrestricted free agent this upcoming summer. Lee and his agent were looking to sign a long-term deal this past off-season, but the Knicks much like other teams were hesitant to offer anything past this year in fear of hurting their cap space for the free agent class of 2010.

David has constantly proved his worth to the New York Knicks and their fans over his NBA career. It would be dissapointing to see him leave for another team next year because of the arrival of new talent and the Knicks not being able to afford him. His agent is looking for a multi-year deal at close to $10 million dollars per season. Money usually is not the object for New York but David needs to improve on a few things in order to warrant that type of contract, mostly his defense and ability to create his own shot.

I think David is undersized at the center and is playing out of position, if the Knicks can pair him up with a true center and he continues to show consistency it would be a no brainer to sign him. He has been a part of nothing but losing during his tenure as a Knick and he deserves a shot to win here as long as its for a reasonable amount of money.

Part 1 of 3- Channing Frye

Part 2 of 3- Nate Robinson

One comment

  1. good shit

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