It’s way too early to panic.
But in his first three games in Boston, David Lee is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor. The Celtics suffered two losses against two good teams (Raptors and Spurs) last week, and haven’t gotten much offensive production out of their newcomer.
Lee isn’t making excuses. He acknowledged his shortcomings after Sunday’s loss against San Antonio.
“I’m out here thinking more than I’m playing, and that’s by no means an excuse,” Lee said Sunday. “I have to be better finishing the ball. That’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for the last decade. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking I’m going to snap out of it here.”
For his career, Lee has shot 53.2 percent from the floor. Just last season, Lee averaged below double digits in points for the first time since his rookie season. But still managed to shoot 51 percent in 18 minutes.
Expectations were somewhat high when the Celtics acquired Lee. Fresh off winning an NBA title as a backup on the Warriors, Lee was coming into a great situation. No one thought he would go back to being the All-Star he was a few years back, but in a starter’s role with a young Celtics core, it was fair to expect improvement from last season. At age 32, he still has plenty of basketball left in the tank.
On Sunday against the Spurs, Lee scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, missed a jump shot and failed to tip in a rebound (twice), then Tim Duncan stuffed his shot so badly that it left him sitting on TD Garden’s new parquet floor. It was a rough game for Lee.
He did managed to pull down eight rebounds — he’s averaging 6.3 in three games — but his offense is sorely missed right now. Alongside Tyler Zeller, who’s averaging the same as Lee (5.3 points), Jae Crowder has been the only consistency in the front court (9.3 points, 4.7 rebounds).
What’s most concerning is the fact that Lee is missing the shots normally makes, however, he’s also not taking a lot of shots. He has scored 16 points on 20 attempts in his first three games. If he’s going to improve his offense, Lee has to take a lot more shots.
But again, it’s still early. The Celtics are getting familiar with each other. And Lee said he’s not concerned about the team’s slow start.
“It’s just about learning where everybody’s strengths are and how we can make each other better within our offense,” Lee said. “Not only ourselves, but make each other better. It’s only going to come from playing games, and we’re three games in and we still have a lot of work left to do. This team is a hard-working one, so I’m not worried.”
Lee and the Celtics will look to bounce back Wednesday night against the Pacers in Indiana.