March 8, 2012

Barea Out, Welcome Malcolm

Per Star Tribune Timberwolves writer Jerry Zgoda, JJ Barea will have some time off here this weekend to allow his left ankle to heal.  Pekovic will be back, thankfully, to help with the twin towers from LAL.  Also, Malcolm Lee will be on the bench on Friday night in case of foul trouble at either guard spot.  I've really been looking forward to Lee making his NBA debut, if nothing else, because he's something different that's already paid for.  I really don't know much about him, though, aside from his UCLA background.  So, who is Malcolm Lee?

Malcolm Lee will wear #3 for the Wolves, which already puts him at a slight disadvantage.  Previous owners of the #3 were: Scott Roth, Chris Smith, Charles Smith, Stephon Marbury, Dennis Scott, LaPhonso Ellis, Loren Woods, Oliver Miller, Marcus Banks, Sebastian Telfair, and most recently Damien Wilkins.  Outside of Marbury, it's tough to say if any of those players have made a significant impact on this team.  Luckily, it doesn't really matter what number is on the back of Lee's jersey.

Malcolm played 3 seasons at UCLA, leaving early after his junior year.  He could be described as a combo guard, with the handles to play the 1 and the size to play the 2.  He averaged 9.7 points per game for his career - 13.1 as a junior, and 12.1 as a sophomore.  Lee shot 44% from the field in his career there, just under 28% from 3, and 71% from the line.  He averaged 2 assists (3.1 in his sophomore season), and 3 rebounds (again, 4.4 as a sophomore) per game for his career.  In his 3rd and final season, Lee averaged a +3.7 +/- helping UCLA to a somewhat disappointing 24-11 record - losing to the Florida Gators in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament.

Chad Ford of ESPN projected Malcolm as an early 2nd Round pick in last year's draft, and he ended up going #13 in the 2nd Round to the Bulls, and he finally made his way to the Wolves.  Ford described Lee as "long and athletic, excellent in transition, very quick laterally, and an elite perimeter defender."  On the other side he questioned Lee's basketball IQ and called his jumper "inconsistent".

His jumper has definitely been consistent so far in his time with Sioux Falls of the NBADL, though - consistently bad, unfortunately.  Lee is currently 0-12 from distance shooting only 35.7% from the field.  He has been very active, however, despite his shooting woes.  In his 6 games, he is averaging 4.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.

Overall, I'm not too sure how excited to get about this kid, and I don't think anyone can really know what to expect out of him.  I like his size at 6'5", 200 lbs.  His apparent defensive prowess is definitely appealing too.  If he can be the kind of lock-down defender he is supposed to be, I could see him finding his way into a playing rotation for this team with maybe even some spot starts.  This year and maybe next, however, his time may be limited unless he is able to develop a consistent jump shot.  A guy that defends well and can run and slash has his place in the NBA on a good team, and I hope the Wolves are a good team for years to come that can really utilize a role player like Malcolm Lee.

Follow Wolves Rubes on Twitter @wolvesrubes.


  1. Just caught the opening line of the previous blog... Very funny, I missed that on the first read. Was it there the whole time. Back on subject. I don't know too much about Lee either but his bio looks like it was plagiarized from Wes Johnson and yet again from Corey Brewer. Maybe it is the curse of Doug West, but the Wolves seem to love the wings that have a defensive upside but have an inconsistent jump shot

  2. It was there the whole time! No you know - you are an esteemed follower. Chad Ford also said about Lee that other good defending UCLA guards weren't high draft picks, but have also turned into good NBA guards (Afflalo, Holliday, Collison) so there is hope. That's the same hope I have for Rubio's jumper based on Jason Kidd's history - inconsistent shooter turned into a very solid 3 point shooter as he got older and stronger.