I rarely saw much Pac 10 play this season due to the time difference and the fact that I am usually asleep by 11pm. Plus I don't really have a strong rooting interest in the Pac 10 and just don't watch many of their games. So I don't know a lot about Malcolm Lee (and apologies if someone has already discussed him); but I do know that UCLA guys have had big time impacts in the NBA after being drafted, and typically are better than their collegiate careers indicate.
I am not sure if he is in or out of the draft at this point, but I happened across this article from Chad Ford while reading lunch and the talk of his defense made me want to draft him immediately. Having a guy who is 6'5'' who can guard 1s and 2s and has the ability to run the point is a huge impact type player for our squad - especially becuase DWill likes to play off the ball at times. And in the Eastern Conference, having elite wing defenders is a MUST. The quote "He is probably as good a wing defender as there is in this draft and has teh potential to be special at the next level" is exactly what we should be looking for. Also if true that he is better at attacking the lane off the dribble than Collison, Westbrook or Holiday is a huge positive for us.
If this kid is in the draft - and we could come away with a mixture of him, Jeremy Tyler or Kenneth Faried we should be ecstatic.
This has become almost an annual event at this time of year -- deciding whether a talented player from UCLA who does not own eye-popping stats will be better in the NBA than he was in college. That is because of the way UCLA plays. Kevin Love, Darren Collison, Russell Westbrook and Jrue Holiday have been better than anticipated. Can Lee follow in their footsteps as a guy who is going to be a better player in the pros?
This much is certain, Lee is better at getting into the lane off the dribble than any of the three guards on the above list were coming out of college. He attacks with the quickness and craft of a little guy, probably because that's what he was until a late growth spurt sent him to the 6-foot-5 height he is now. The question of position is already answered, in that he may be able to guard 2s, but he's been a point all his life. Why change now?
Speaking of guarding, this is where we have to begin when evaluating Lee. He's not just long and athletic; he has a natural disposition to defend. He is probably as good a wing defender as there is in this draft and has the potential to be special at the next level if (and it's a big "if") he maintains that desire. Forgetting about that side of the ball so he can instead focus his energies on his dribble attack game would be a big mistake, both in draft workouts and as an NBA player.
Teams know of that dribble-drive game, and unfortunately they know of his shooting troubles as well. He was never a good shooter while in college, pretty typical for a young guy who's so adept at driving (think Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Derrick Rose coming out of school). But he also wasn't a big-time scorer in college or capable of leading his team far into the NCAA tournament like those guys. So, proving he can project as a good shooter, which can happen by making progress through workouts, is Step 1 for Lee. Lee, as a 40-plus percent 3-point shooter, was a likely lottery pick. That didn't happen, but if he can approach that range in the next few years, he'll come close to reaching the huge potential he's had since arriving at UCLA.