At this time last year, Courtney Lee was coming off the bench for a Boston Celtics team that went on to lose 57 games.
He’s liking his current situation a lot more.
Thanks to a three-team January trade, Lee now serves as the starting shooting guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, who carry an NBA-best 10-2 record into Friday’s date with Lee’s former team.
“It was a blessing that I was able, with everything that I went through (in Boston), to get out and come to a great situation,” Lee told reporters Friday morning, via MassLive.com. “But I enjoyed my time in Boston. The organization, teammates, coaching staff, everybody was top-notch. So it just didn’t work out. I’m happy I’m in a better place, though.”
Lee’s first season with the Celtics was the last of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce era — a campaign that ended in the first round of the NBA playoffs. After that, Boston chose to enter rebuilding mode, jettisoning Garnett, Pierce and coach Doc Rivers and entering the 2013-14 season with a roster made up largely of veteran role players.
“It was a little different because when you first signed there, it’s one team there; you have one goal, and that’s to compete for a championship and try to make a run,” Lee said. “That didn’t happen. And then the next year, it’s all broken up and things changed quickly. But it’s the NBA. Trades, injuries, all that stuff occurs. So, you just have to just deal with it.”
Lee has done more than deal with it since joining the Grizzlies. He’s averaging 14.9 points through nine games and leads Memphis with a 20.9 player efficiency rating.
Lee was one of several Grizzlies players battling a stomach bug earlier in the week but said he will play Friday night, per The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn.
Photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images