There has been a fair amount of discussion about Malcolm Lee; how good he is, how not good he is, whether he will be a solid rotation player, etc... I know there has been a fair amount of discussion of his college statistics, but I wanted to look at the production of players who were drafted at the same spot as Lee. A look at the numbers after the jump.
|Patrick Ewing Jr.||7||19||2.7||0.4||0.3||0.3||-0.1||-0.158||0.6|
What stands out? Michael Redd is easily the best 43rd pick of the last 22 years. Marcus Thornton is probably the second best. A couple guys received a bit of playing time. Eric Snow hung around forever, Chucky Brown, Tony Massenburg, Keith Bogans, and Trevor Ariza played over 10000 minutes. Lee Nailon and Jahidi White lasted between 5 and 7 years, which is above average for an NBA player (though both played on some awful teams; Nailon on the 19 win Hornets team that got them Chris Paul, White on the 18 win Wizards team that got them Kwame Brown). Sasha Danilovic only played two years - he was drafted in '92, started in '95, and left the NBA in '97 at the ripe old age of 27.
Beyond that, the pickings are slim at best. Half of the players never got past their rookie contracts. Besides Redd, none of the players can lay a great claim to being an above average NBA player, and only six would probably be rotation players.
What does this mean to Lee? It does not mean that he is an automatic bust. It is, rather, a caution against considering Lee as a prospect without noting that he was simply not talented enough and/or not productive enough to become a first round draft pick, and second round draft picks, particularly mid-to-late second round draft picks (like Lee) generally do not enjoy significant success. In fact, it's virtually a coin flip that they play more than a season's worth of games.
Takeaway: despite the fact that Lee is on the roster, the Timberwolves are still in dire straits when it comes to wing players, because it is more likely than not that Lee does not solve any problems. If he gives adequate production for more than 10minutes per game, he becomes one of the more successful 43rd picks in the last 22 years. I would still suspect that Lee will not play a lot of minutes, score a lot of points, be very productive, or last more than three years in the league.