Now winners of seven of their last 10 games, the Knicks are beginning to find a rhythm. Players are able to contribute and find success because their roles on this team are much clearer.
That's been a big plus for Courtney Lee, who is becoming visibly more comfortable and confident as the games go on. He knows what to do. With so many other gifted offensive players around him, opposing defenses tend to lay off Lee, especially when the Knicks are pushing the pace.
But that doesn't mean he can't remain ready for when his number is called. The guard appears to have a clear understanding that his place is planted beyond the arc in the corners. He's proven to be clutch for those respective shots and tends to be open more often than not.
Though New York has begun to develop some winning ways, the respective slumps of both Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis can't be ignored. Despite a 33-point outburst from Anthony in Friday's win in Sacramento, both he and Porzingis have experienced recent cold streaks. The fact that Derrick Rose missed the last two games has only added to the Knicks' challenges.
However, that's exactly why Lee continues to play such a vital role in this offense. New York is obviously going to continue looking Porzingis and Anthony's ways. Each player represents a key focal point in the team's offensive scheme. They are gifted players, who will find continuity again sooner than later.
Should Anthony or Porzingis happen to miss a few shots here and there down a particular stretch, the Knicks are left rather vulnerable. They can't afford to fall behind too badly or allow an opponent to narrow a winning gap. Lee's respective prowess from long range has proven to give way to momentum building shots for this team. When a couple of possessions go by without a score, he can be relied upon to hit a dagger from deep to help them stay afloat. As the defense's strategy works on the Knicks' primary scorers, Lee stands tall as the open man.
The 31-year-old's shooting percentages over his last ten appearances (45 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep) are only up slightly from his percentages on the season. Lee's scoring opportunities (and respective ability to convert) have been much more timely however, giving him on a greater impact on the Knicks' success.
He is the second best 3-point shooter on the team. His 3.6 attempts over the last 10 appearances are not only well above his career average, but would also slot him third on the team if he keeps it up. This is clearly his primary offensive strength.
Luckily for Lee, the coaching staff understands how to get the most out of him and should continue putting him in place to cash in.