Player Capsules 2012, #67-69: David Lee, Kevin Seraphin, Jerryd Bayless

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with David Lee, Kevin Seraphin, Jerryd Bayless.

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Follow David Lee on Twitter at @dlee042.

David Lee sneaks up on you, a bit. If you're making a list of the best big men in the league, Lee will never deign to crack it -- his stats are on-the-whole phenomenal but his game is on-the-whole average. He's an above average offensive player from most areas of the floor -- for his career, he generally shoots in the 40% range on 16-23 foot twos (though clocked in well below that at 36% last season), near 50% from the true midrange, around 44% on close-but-not-at-rim shots, and in the high sixties on at-rim conversion. That's very good from midrange and very good at the rim, while semi-passable from the long midrange and pretty awful at his post-move, 3-9 foot shots. This reflects in how he distributes his shots -- Lee is pretty good about staying away from doomed post moves and sticking to what he's good at. Strong moves to get as close to the basket as possible, in-rhythm midrange shots, and just enough floor spacing to draw a big out of the paint every now and again. He's good in isolation, good in the pick and roll, and good at keeping the ball under control when he runs his own plays. Still, though. Does his game really help his teammates?

This is what I've really struggled with. I've never really watched a game with Lee and thought, "wow, Lee's play has really opened up the floor for his teammates." The problem with Lee's game is that, as a player, he's extremely slow and lumbering. He's also relatively easy to telegraph. This doesn't necessarily make him easy to guard, per se -- Lee's been relatively slow his whole career, which has made him adapt to the extra coverage he gets. Lee can finish in traffic, or make shots while guarded. In some ways, it makes his offensive game that much more impressive. But the problem with Lee is that his slow frame means that his offensive talents don't really help the guards around him that much. Sure, Lee's midrange is great, but it never really spaces the floor very effectively. His man plays off him until Lee is guaranteed to shoot, then lunges in knowing they'll have time to recover if Lee decides to pass it. Alternatively, if he tries a fancy post move, defenders have about twenty years and some change to prepare their angles for a clean and easy block. Why do you think he shoots so poorly from 3-9 feet, and always seems to be among the league's big-man leaders in percentage of shots blocked? (No, Virginia, not blocks -- percentage of THE PLAYER'S shots that get blocked.) Lee's game is potent, and his offense is very impressive for a man his size. But his lack of speed and mobility do no favors for his teammates, and while his stats have always been rather excellent, I've never been quite as big on him as most.

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