Courtney Lee’s offensive numbers are up across the board this season, and he believes it shouldn’t take a mathematics wizard — or a Zen Master — to understand why.
“I’m going to say it point blank and clear: we’re not running the triangle,” Lee said after scoring 17 points in Wednesday’s blowout win over Miami. “We’re running a different offense that’s more fast-paced and it’s more suitable for my style of play.”
Lee was signed by then-president Phil Jackson before last season to a four-year deal worth $50 million, averaging 10.8 points in 32 minutes per game over 77 appearances. He is up to a career-best 12.6-point scoring average through the Knicks 11-10 start, while posting 10-year highs in rebounds (3.8 per game) and assists (3.0), as well.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t a fan of the triangle. The triangle is just – my game suits the triangle also, but you slow it down a little bit,” Lee explained. “You make passes, you get it to the pinch-post, and then you play off that, but the offense now is to just get up and down. First open look, take it and just try to make the right play…. I’m just trying to do my job and have fun with it.”
Lee’s importance to the team could have been marginalized when the Knicks signed fellow shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year contract worth $71 million over the summer. But with Carmelo Anthony traded, Lee and Hardaway have started each of the first 21 games.
“I kind of knew that over the summer time before ya’ll knew it. I kind of just kept that in,” Lee said. “Early on they told me, right when they made the move, I got a phone call from (president) Steve (Mills), Coach (Jeff Hornacek), everybody, saying your role doesn’t change. We need you to be more aggressive on both ends of the court and just play your game.”