When the 76ers signed Malcolm Lee yesterday, I am positive I was not the only one who wondered who the hell he was. The same sounded familiar, but I could not put a face to it, so the research began. In this post, there is already some information on Lee and his background, but I’m digging a little deeper.
Malcolm Lee — who looks like a replica of Childish Gambino or Donald Brown — played his college ball at UCLA. This excerpt from Draft Express on Lee’s pre-draft workouts speaks about the type of potential he had before the injuries settled in:
"The first thing that jumped out to us was how much smoother his shooting mechanics appeared to be. He’s not pulling the ball back as far before his release as he did as a Bruin and looked extremely confident from the perimeter in the sessions we watched. He’s made significant progress in his shooting mechanics since arriving at UCLA, and has been focusing on maximizing his ability to create shots off the dribble at Impact as you’ll see in his workout video.In one session, we got to see Lee work out with Kawhi Leonard and Alec Burks under the tutelage of Chauncey Billups. Of the three prospects involved, Lee had the most impressive footwork. He’s still improving the consistency of his shot, but he looked comfortable staying on balance and knocking down his jumpers while fine-tuning the aggressive scoring moves Billups implemented in drills. His recent surgery didn’t seem to be hindering him either, as he was finishing comfortably above the rim when the drills called for him to explode to the basket."
To go along with that, here’s a video from Draft Express with a pre-draft workout and interview with Malcolm Lee:
His NBA career never really took off. Lee had FIVE surgeries in two seasons and was flipped from the T’Wolves to the Warriors, who immediately flipped him to the Suns, who eventually traded him to the Wizards last season, who immediately waived him. Yet, Lee is still only 24-years-old. Hyper extending his knee, a meniscus sprain, groin injuries; Lee’s young body has seen a lot of damage. However, the 6’5″ shooting guard with a reputation as a shooter, learned his lesson and knows he now has to take care of his body (via USA Today):
"“In college, I never stretched or did the cold tubs,” Lee said. “I just went out and played. I was 18, 19 and could get away with things like that. That catches up with you. I’d tell that Malcolm to do everything to keep your body right. It’s like getting maintenance on a car. You’re not going to drive the heck out of it without getting the oil changed and the tires rotated. I just want to get healthy, stay healthy and the rest will take care of itself.”"
Malcolm Lee may not be a common name, but he fits with the 76ers. There is an obvious hole at shooting guard that the team has neglected to alleviate all off-season. No one wants to see Jason Richardson try and attempt to make a comeback. His career was a great one, but it’s time for him to call it quits, Father Time has arrived.
Lee has a deep injury history, but the fact remains that he is still young at 24-years-old and who knows what could happen. He’ll get his shot in training camp and has a decent opportunity to make the squad. With all the negativity towards this season, it would be nice to see Malcolm Lee carve out his niche on this squad. It would be a feel good story for a season when there isn’t much to feel good about. If Lee came out and played 60-80 games, then that would be a success. Who knows what he can actually contribute, but at this point, it’s worth giving the man a shot.
The signing of Malcolm Lee by the 76ers is simply giving a man an opportunity that other teams wouldn’t give him. Injuries are the worst thing that can happen in sports, because they can end a career before it ever gets off the ground, similar to Lee. However, Sam Hinkie and company are giving the UCLA Bruin product a second chance to get his engine running before his NBA career gets an expired stamp.