Saturday, March 29, 2014

Anthony Lee: An Impact Transfer

While it won't make a big splash, picking up Anthony Lee from Temple is a coup for Ohio State. Lee is one of the most underrated players in the country, a legitimate NBA prospect at the 4 who drastically improves an OSU front-line that has been weak ever since the departure of Jared Sullinger.

Temple had a 9-22 record in their first season in the AAC, but they have been a perennial NCAA Tournament team under Fran Dunphy, making the Big Dance in each of the previous six seasons. Lee was a big part of their success last season, when they narrowly lost to Indiana in the second round.

At 6'9 230, he has prototype size for an NBA PF. And while he isn't an elite athlete by any stretch, he's big and fast enough to hold his own at the next level. He averaged 13.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1 block on 49.5% shooting this season, a slight dip in his efficiency numbers from the year before.

Lee, like the rest of his Temple teammates, struggled at times without Khalif Wyatt, who drew an incredible amount of defensive attention. Temple had neither a dominant scorer or a true PG who could get everyone else easy shots, so everyone on the roster was forced to fend for themselves.

At Ohio State, Lee should benefit from playing next to Shannon Scott, who will be given the keys to the offense with Aaron Craft gone. Lee can run the floor, finish at the rim and knock down a 20-foot jumper - he's the perfect complement to a slash-and-kick PG like Scott.

So while he will never be a great player, Lee has the skill-set to play a big role on a good team. He gives Thad Matta a lot of options in terms of deploying personnel - he can play in a huge line-up, as a face-up 4 next to Amir Williams, or he can play as a small-ball 5. 

Lee's NBA ceiling is probably Dante Cunningham, a reserve big man who swings between both interior positions on a second unit. If he can put up double-double numbers in the Big Ten and keep OSU in the Top 25, Lee will get a much longer look from NBA scouts than if he were on a rebuilding Temple team.

That's a thing for a guy with Lee's ceiling - just because you have the tools to play in the NBA doesn't necessarily mean you will. There's no pressing demand for backup 4's at the next level. For a potential second-round draft pick, it's all about being in the right place at the right time.

No one has more riding on OSU's success next season than Anthony Lee.

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