When your team is 3-38 at the halfway point of the season and are on pace to set an NBA record for fewest wins in a season, things are tough all over. It’s probably hard to find anything positive about your team and at that point players could be on the verge of a meltdown. That’s right folks; I am talking about the New Jersey Nets. After 41 games they are 28 games behind the Cavs for first place in the East and 12.5 out of the eight seed in the East. That’s really not so bad for a team that has won three out of 41 games. Did I already mention it’s probably not easy to find any positives when your team is in this spot? Well I sort of found that one!
One of the few bright spots is guard Courtney Lee. He has had one heck of a two year span. In his rookie year he was a big contributor off the bench for the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic, sure he could have made a lay-up that might have changed the way the Finals ended up, but that’s history. He did play in the Finals and came close to a NBA championship. After the season though he was traded to the New Jersey Nets with Tony Battie and Rafer Alston for Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson. That trade made a rookie who was so close to the championship go to a team that now is on pace to brake the all time loss record for a season. You want to talk about the two polar opposites, then just ask Mr. Lee about it.
Courtney Lee joined XL 950 in Indianapolis with Derek Schultz and talked about the Nets season so far, last year with the Magic, and what the future looks like in New Jersey.
Asked after a smaller role in Orlando if he likes the expanded role he has in New Jersey:
“I do, it gives me a lot of opportunities and more ways to play. I get to showcase my abilities a lot more. In Orlando I knew that we were going to work through Dwight (Howard), then we had Turk and Rashard, and then you also had Jameer. Those are all guys who were going to make the right plays so my job was a lot easier. This year I am learning to be a lot more of a leader, I am getting my body in a lot better shape because I am playing a lot more minutes and I am being asked to do a lot more things. It’s a learning experience too.”
Asked about the team staying positive through all the losing this season:
“Just like you said, it’s the only thing we can do keep from going insane. To try and find ways to stay positive and work everyday. To realize there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we need to reach that. “
Asked what the transition has been like going from Orlando and the Finals to New Jersey and the bottom:
“Early on in the season it was definitely tough. Like you said I went from a team that went to the championship to a team that’s not even going to make the playoffs going the way we are going right now. It’s definitely tough but I just have to look at the bigger picture and control what I can control. As far as me getting better every day, me having a positive attitude and me coming to play the right way and play team ball.”