November 27, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Malcolm Lee (8) looks on during the first quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. The Timberwolves defeated the Kings 97-89. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

What kind of player Is Malcolm Lee?


What kind of player Is Malcolm Lee? Is he a true option at the 2? Is he really the player the Timberwolves have seen small glimpses of great talent? Or is he someone who is merely a tourniquet to stop the bleeding of the 2 guard position? Any and all early indications were Malcolm Lee could play in the NBA, but was most definitely a project for the future. All signs from the franchise would indicate this thought, all of the moves to bring in other guards, either through trades, drafts or even free agent signings showed the Wolves didn’t have the confidence he was the immediate answer.

Malcolm Lee is just one of many UCLA products who have not only been drafted in recent years, but have made huge impacts in the NBA. Malcolm Lee coming into the season was going to be another casualty of a deep back court for the Wolves for a second season though. There were just no minutes for him entering the season, due to injuries, Malcolm has gotten his chance to show if he can play to the caliber that would be needed if he is going to stick around and make an impact for the long haul on this team.

It’s usually never fair to judge what a 2nd year player has accomplished from year to year, but when looking at his stats from last year to this year, he had 19 games last season, and 15 already this season. Malcolm was able to accumulate 243 minutes played last year and 278 minutes this season. So for all comparison purposes he is fairly even. What a difference a year makes isn’t necessarily the case when you really look at the stats.

Season PER TS% eFG% TRB% AST% STL% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS WS/48
11-12

9.3

0.466

0.407

5.9

19.8

1.7

20.4

15.3

95

108

0

0.1

0.1

0.024

12-13

10

0.471

0.446

7.6

11.3

1.9

10.8

15

102

102

0.1

0.4

0.5

0.089

Career

9.7

0.469

0.429

6.8

15.3

1.8

15.3

15.1

99

105

0.1

0.5

0.6

0.059

 

Sure there is some areas of great improvement for Malcolm, his WS/48 (win shares per 48 minutes), and his ORtg (oiffensive rating) are noticeably higher. The main issue is, he was supposed to be a defensive player and his DWS (defensive win share) has only slightly gone up, while his DRtg (defensive rating) has gone down. He is turning the ball over less (TOV%), but he is isn’t assisting as much (AST%). His PER (player efficiency rating) is a little higher from last season, and so are his shooting numbers. The main factor that has to be taken into consideration, he is a bench player right now at this stage in his career, someone who could be on the second unit, yet he is playing against starters. When comparing Malcolm Lee in terms of MIN% (Minutes percentage, percentage of total game time allocated by the player), he is not in the company of other NBA starters. He is in the company of bench players.

PLAYER MIN% USG% TOr FT% 2P% 3P% TS% PPG TRB% AST% SPG VI
Jodie Meeks

30.2

21.9

0.132

0.923

0.341

0.417

0.548

6.8

5.9

11

0.58

5.8

Mike Miller

31.5

11.7

0.109

1

0.533

0.405

0.592

4

9.6

12.5

0.47

6.3

Terrence Ross

31.7

20

0.11

0.4

0.47

0.264

0.437

5.3

7.4

6.7

0.55

4.8

Wayne Ellington

33.4

15.8

0.078

0.875

0.429

0.327

0.481

5.1

4.1

11.3

0.39

4.7

Willie Green

36.6

14.9

0.112

0.667

0.532

0.421

0.582

6

4.6

8

0.24

4.4

Malcolm Lee

38.3

15.1

0.108

0.6

0.42

0.333

0.471

5.2

7.6

10.8

0.67

5.4

P.J. Tucker

38.2

11.4

0.126

0.667

0.492

0.5

0.555

4.6

11.3

8.6

0.55

5.7

Marquis Daniels

38.7

19.2

0.115

0.8

0.482

0.333

0.511

7.3

6.8

12.7

0.93

6.3

Roger Mason Jr.

42.1

14

0.123

1

0.421

0.364

0.54

5.7

6.2

9.8

0.37

4.9

Landry Fields

40.2

13.1

0.165

0.667

0.238

0

0.237

2.4

8.7

11.2

0.6

4.3

Gerald Green

43.8

18.2

0.118

0.739

0.402

0.35

0.477

7.1

9

4.7

0.14

4.6

 

While Malcolm is fairly equal in many categories’ to the players he is being compared to, his TS% (true shooting percentage) is one of the worst in this group, and nothing against these players, but this group isn’t the group any player wants to be toward the bottom of.

It’s not that Malcolm has been terrible for the Timberwolves when he has been on the floor. In fact it is quite the contrary when you take his +/- in regards to the rest of the team.

Player

+

-

+/-

Min G
J. Barea

562

-518

44

281:32:00

13

A. Kirilenko

997

-954

43

503:34:00

14

N. Pekovic

982

-944

38

492:21:00

16

C. Budinger

270

-241

29

140:39:00

6

K. Love

632

-609

23

310:06:00

9

M. Lee

543

-532

11

278:23:00

15

A. Shved

853

-844

9

446:39:00

18

D. Cunningham

755

-746

9

401:36:00

18

B. Roy

245

-239

6

121:51:00

5

L. Ridnour

1,085

-1,084

1

553:19:00

18

D. Williams

547

-550

-3

279:13:00

14

L. Amundson

153

-166

-13

86:48:00

10

J. Howard

381

-402

-21

199:55:00

10

G. Stiemsma

353

-374

-21

203:32:00

16

 

Lee, has the 6th highest =/- on the team, of course there are many different factors that can be taken into consideration, who is he on the floor with, what points of the game he is playing.

Maybe a truer representation of his contribution to the team is Floor time statistics.

Floor Time statistics

Min Net   Pts Off Def Net48 W L Win%
32% +11 1.02 1 1.9 8 6 57.1

These stats represent how the team performed while the player was on the floor.
The Net48 number shows the average +/- net points over a full game

How is he doing in regards to the team in true simple rating on his Net? Ok, I’m glad you asked.

Production     On Court/Off Court     Simple
Player

Min

Own

Opp

Net

On

Off

Net

Rating

Kirilenko

58%

20.2

8.9

11.3

4.1

-2.7

6.8

9.8

Love

36%

23.4

11.2

12.2

3.6

0

3.6

9.3

Barea

33%

16.1

6.8

9.3

7.5

-1.7

9.2

9.3

Budinger

16%

18.2

11.1

7.2

9.9

-0.4

10.3

8.2

Pekovic

57%

16.7

12.9

3.8

3.7

-1.9

5.6

4.4

Shved

52%

14.4

10.6

3.8

1

1.6

-0.6

2.3

Cunningham

46%

16

13.1

2.9

1.1

1.5

-0.4

1.8

Williams

32%

14.2

11.4

2.8

-0.5

2.1

-2.7

1

Howard

23%

9.9

13.2

-3.3

-5

3.2

-8.2

-4.9

Ridnour

64%

15.1

23.9

-8.8

0.1

3.4

-3.3

-6.9

Roy

14%

8.6

20.8

-12.2

2.4

1.1

1.3

-7.7

Lee

32%

10.2

22.8

-12.6

1.9

1

0.9

-8.1

Stiemsma

24%

6.2

18.1

-11.9

-4.9

3.2

-8.1

-10.6

Amundson

10%

4

18.2

-14.3

-7.2

2.2

-9.4

-12.7

 

When you take his simple rating he struggles to come close to stacking up with any of the other starters. Fact of the matter is Malcolm Lee is in the starting lineup, yet he isn’t getting starters’ minutes. He can play basketball in the NBA, but he isn’t getting a chance to play against other players of equal skill level. This isn’t quite to the level of the JV player, playing on the Varsity team. This is more of a 9th-10th man playing as a starter in the NBA, when comparing that to a starter, that gap is drastically different in the NBA. Getting Ricky back will give Rick Adelman more flexibility in his lineups. We see Luke slide back over to the 2 guard similar to what the Wolves did for a good portion of last season.  Problem is, if that does happen, JJ Berea and Alexey Shved will still be in the next guards off the bench. If those 2 are the next in line for minutes that puts Malcolm Lee back on the outside looking in, and wondering where his minutes will come from and if he will ever get to play against the competition he needs in order to build both his skill and confidence levels to possibly make a difference for a team for years to come.

Tags: Featured Malcolm Lee Minnesota Timberwolves NBA

  • steppxxxxz

    good analysis. Love reading this kind of breakdown. Now i saw a lot of Lee at UCLA. And i really thought he was a second round steal for whoever drafted him. I still think he is a kid who can carve out a role in the nba. Is he a starter? No, but i never thought he would be. I think , though, that lee IS a plus defender. Like all Howland players, he knows how to play defense. He knows the fundamentals. The problem is that people expected him to be Afflalo…….and he’s not. He’s not become a surprisingly great shooter. I dont think he ever will. I think he is going to be more like a Pondexter in what he does for Memphis….which is great. I mean Lee will improve his shot……especially the three, and continue to be guy you put in for stops. He has good handle………something worth noting. But most of all he is a sound reliable plus defender. He might not do it here in minny, but he’s going to find a home.

    • James Glenn

      Thanks for your compliment and your feedback. I completely
      agree with you, and I think he will continue to play in the league. He just
      needs minutes against equal caliber players, if he gets that, it will give him
      the chance to get his confidence and his game to where it is capable of going.
      Please keep on reading and sharing your feedback.

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